HHS will unify its Medicare accounting

HHS will unify its Medicare accounting

The Health and Human Services Department last month launched a $328 million effort to unify accounting practices of Medicare insurers.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services picked PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. of New York to be systems integrator for the new Healthcare Integrated General Ledger Accounting System.

John Moeller, the CMS project director, said HIGLAS will replace disparate financial systems with a Web front end accessible by user name and password through the Medicare Data Communications Network. It eventually will unite 54 insurers' systems that process about 3 million Medicare claims daily.

In fiscal 2002, Medicare will pay an estimated $252 billion for 40 million beneficiaries. But most Medicare insurers do not have double-entry accounting or general ledgers, Moeller said, so CMS must verify the reports manually.

HIGLAS will save an estimated $1.2 billion through fiscal 2010 by more accurately tracking and collecting receivables. It will be rolled out in phases through the end of fiscal 2006.

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