Bloomberg Law
Dec. 19, 2022, 8:01 PM

Covid-19 Drove Record Increase in Medicare Spending on Lab Tests

Tony Pugh
Tony Pugh

Medicare outpatient spending on lab tests jumped 17%, or $1.3 billion, to $9.3 billion in 2021, driven largely by the Covid-19 pandemic, the HHS Office of Inspector General reported Monday.

The 17% increase was the largest since the OIG began monitoring payments in 2014, according to the government watchdog agency’s report.

In 2021, Medicare’s outpatient “Part B” coverage spent $2 billion on COVID-19 tests, up 29% from 2020, the OIG found. In all, 10 million-plus beneficiaries received at least one COVID-19 test paid for by Medicare Part B.

Medicare Part B spending on non-COVID-19 tests also increased. Spending on ...

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