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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to churn, Medicare spending on testing for the virus continued to increase in 2022 and was outpacing the two prior years.
Through Oct. 31, Medicare had spent $2 billion on COVID-19 tests in 2022, an amount that will surpass 2021’s total as claims are filed, according to new data provided to ProPublica by CareSet, a research organization that works to make the health care system more transparent.
Fraud and overspending are contributing to the increases, experts say, because federal money for COVID-19 testing is not subject to some of the same financial and regulatory constraints as other tests covered by Medicare, the government insurance program for people 65 and older and the disabled.
The growing costs concern some of these experts, who say the need for financial incentives to expand the availability of testing has passed.
Early in the pandemic, testing was both critical to slowing the spread of the virus and in short supply. So the federal government enacted measures to make it more profitable to get in the COVID-19 testing business. Good for the duration of the public health emergency, which has not yet expired, the…