HHS sued for access to Medicare Advantage info


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services still has yet to provide information related to its oversight of Medicare Advantage insurers, according to a new lawsuit issued against the federal agency.

The Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan investigative news organization, filed the complaint Tuesday after HHS failed to disclose documents the group has requested for more than a year, CPI reported.

Looking into a billing issue related to Medicare Advantage, the investigative journalists asked HHS for all records of any audits or investigations during the last five years of insurers offering Medicare Advantage plans. The group also wants billing data and identities of any insurers suspected of overcharging the government.

Because HHS hasn't provided the information, CPI says it's violating the Freedom of Information Act, which requires federal agencies to respond to requests within 20 working days.

"The information about Medicare Advantage that we are asking for should be readily available to the taxpaying public," CPI Executive Director Bill Buzenberg said in the article. "There's no excuse for ignoring our request."

Although HHS acknowledged receiving the documents request, it hasn't provided any information. "Plaintiffs have a statutory right to the requested records, and there is no legal basis for Defendant's failure to make them available," the lawsuit states.

This is the second time CPI reporters have sued HHS to force it to disclose billing records. CPI filed a lawsuit in 2009 to compel HHS to provide Medicare billing records.

To learn more:
- here's the complaint
- read the Center for Public Integrity article

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