Reports: Medicare paid $120M in illegal care

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MIAMI (AP) — Two new reports show that the taxpayer-funded Medicare program paid more than $120 million from 2009 to 2011 in violation of federal law for medical services for inmates and illegal immigrants.

Under federal law, Medicare generally doesn't pay for services for inmates or illegal immigrants. But the reports issued Thursday by federal health inspectors say Medicare was billed for more than $33 million in inmate care and more than $91 million for illegal immigrant care over that period.

The Department of Health and Human Services inspector general recommends that officials establish a better system to automatically flag and deny charges for both groups of patients.

Federal health officials say they plan to implement changes in April.

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