Medicare Wasting Millions on Back Braces



A new report expected to be released Wednesday shows Medicare paid an average of $919 for back braces that cost suppliers just $191 each, according to the Associated Press.

The finding is just a glimpse into how much waste can be found in Medicare.

"The program and its beneficiaries could have paid millions of dollars less if the Medicare reimbursement amount … more closely resembled the cost to suppliers," says the report from the inspector general of the Health and Human Services Department.

Investigators found Medicare was willing to pay over four times the supplier cost for back braces. This extra cost hurt beneficiaries, as they have a 20 percent copayment. 

It's estimated that the U.S. health care system squanders $750 billion a year, about 30 cents of every medical dollar, through unneeded care, wasteful spending, and fraud. Part of the problem is prices can vary widely depending on who's paying the bill. Prices that government programs pay can be way off the mark.