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In a disturbing sign of the times, Medicare this week implemented a change to its claims-processing system that adds two extra digits to money amounts, expanding the fields from eight digits to 10. The change now allows for billing and payment totals of up to $99,999,999.99, or a penny shy of $100 million.

In a notice released last month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) explained the change, writing, “With the increase of Part B procedures/treatments exceeding the $999,999.99 limitation, CMS is implementing the expansion of display screens for monetary amount fields related to billing and payment within [the Fiscal Intermediary Shared System (FISS)] to accept and process up to 10 digits ($99,999,999.99).”

The FISS is the processing system used by hospitals and doctors’ offices to process Medicare claims.

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