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Highlights

The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 significantly reformed contracting for payment of Medicare's $310 billion per year in fee-for-service claims. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is transitioning claims administration to 19 new entities known as Medicare Administrative Contractors (MAC) and plans to complete the process ahead of October 1, 2011, the date required by law. In 2005, GAO reported that CMS's plan to accelerate the transition could create challenges and was based on estimated costs and savings that were uncertain. In this report GAO examined (1) how CMS has implemented Medicare contracting reform; (2) how CMS assessed the performance of the MACs and what the results of its assessments have been; and (3) what CMS's costs and savings have been for Medicare contracting reform. GAO selected a sample of 6 transitions to review from among the 10 MAC contracts awarded as of June 2008, based on factors such as geographic diversity, volume of claims workload, and transition complexity. GAO analyzed CMS documents related to the MAC transitions, including performance assessments for 3 of the 6 MACs in the sample that had results available for three types of reviews as of March 2009, and interviewed CMS officials, contractors, and provider groups.

Full Report