Stay on top of your accountancy game in minutes....
23rd September 2021
Federal investigators identify $9.2bn in questionable Medicare payments
Medicare insurers drew $9.2bn in federal payments in one year through controversial billing practices, with 20 companies benefiting disproportionately and together accounting for more than half of the total, according to federal health investigators. The findings by the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services are the latest sign of growing scrutiny of Medicare Advantage (MA) insurers, which offer private plans under the federal benefit program. Among the 20 companies flagged in the report, the investigators found that one received approximately 40% of the questionable payments, or $3.7bn, while enrolling only 22% of Medicare Advantage customers. The report didn’t name the company. At the heart of the investigation were the ways insurers in the Medicare Advantage program document diagnoses for enrollees. The payments the companies receive from the federal government are tied to the health status of their customers. Patients with more, and more serious, diagnoses generally draw higher payments for the health plans. The HHS inspector general’s investigation focused on two controversial strategies used by Medicare Advantage companies to tally diagnoses. In one, the insurers or their contractors review patients’ charts for evidence of diagnoses that doctors didn’t specifically flag. The other involves health-risk assessments, or HRAs, that are often conducted by the vendors in patients’ homes. Both strategies are allowed under Medicare rules, but “our findings raise concerns about the extent to which certain MA companies may have inappropriately leveraged both chart reviews and HRAs to maximize risk-adjusted payments,” the report said.
Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Linkedinemail
IRS signs three new collection agencies
The IRS has awarded contracts to three private collection agencies - CBE Group of Iowa, Coast Professional, and ConServe, both of New York - for collection of overdue tax debts, effective today. The collection agencies can discuss payment options, including setting up payment agreements with taxpayers. Any tax payment must go directly to the IRS.
Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Linkedinemail
U.S. Senate confirms Batchelder for Treasury tax post
The U.S. Senate yesterday confirmed Lily Batchelder to serve as assistant secretary for tax policy at the Treasury Department, where she will play a big role in implementing tax changes sought by President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats. Ms. Batchelder, who served as the Senate Finance Committee’s chief tax counsel from 2010 to 2014, won confirmation in a 64-34 vote, with 15 Republicans voting in support of the New York University law professor. 
Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Linkedinemail
EY names Ginnie Carlier EY Americas Vice Chair - Talent
EY has appointed Ginnie Carlier as the new EY Americas Vice Chair – Talent. In her new role, she will leads efforts to create exceptional and transformative experiences for over 80,000 EY people across 31 countries. Ms. Carlier serves as the executive sponsor for College MAP (Mentoring for Access and Persistence), a multiyear, group-mentoring program focused on enabling and empowering students in underserved high schools so that they can gain access to college and succeed in higher education. During her 28-year tenure with EY, Ms. Carlier has held several key roles, building and leading high-performing teams across three continents. She was most recently the EY US-West Region Talent Leader, where she prioritized the development and well-being of 15,000 people across 18 states, while also leading Assurance teams in client service.
Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Linkedinemail
Armanino expands in Southern California through merger
Armanino has announced that it will be merging in Torrance, California-based Brigante, Cameron, Watters & Strong LLP, effective November 1st. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed. The combination will add another office, in Torrance, to Armanino’s five in Southern California.
Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Linkedinemail
Fed prepares to roll back stimulus program
Federal Reserve officials indicated on Wednesday that they expect to soon slow the asset purchases they have been using to support the economy. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that the central bank’s bond purchases, which have totaled $120bn per month, “still have a use, but it’s time for us to begin to taper them.” Mr. Powell said officials hadn’t made a formal decision on how quickly to reduce purchases, but most agreed that a gradual process “that concludes around the middle of next year is likely to be appropriate.” The Fed is also holding benchmark interest rates near zero but indicated that rate hikes could be coming sooner than expected. 
Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Linkedinemail
U.S. existing home sales fall in August; inventory declines
U.S. home sales fell in August as supply remained tight and prices accelerated further, the latest indication that the loss of the momentum in the housing market persisted through the third quarter. Existing home-sales posted a 2% decline from July to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.88m units, the biggest monthly drop since April, the National Association of Realtors said, and were down 1.5% on an annual basis. Expensive building materials as well as land and labor shortages have made it harder for builders to boost production. Government data on Tuesday showed single-family homebuilding fell for a second straight month in August. The median existing house price increased 14.9% from a year ago to $356,700 in August. The pace of increase is, however, slowing and bidding wars are subsiding. Sales remain concentrated in the upper price end of the market. There were 1.29 million previously owned homes on the market last month, down 13.4% from a year ago. At August’s sales pace, it would take 2.6 months to exhaust the current inventory, down from 3.0 months a year ago.
Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Linkedinemail
How families are investing their child tax credit payments
New data on the monthly child tax credit payments show how parents earning up to $50,000 a year are using the extra money: investing it in securities trades. The monthly checks started in July, and include up to $300 per child under age 6 and $250 per month for children ages 6 to 17. New research from Envestnet | Yodlee, a data aggregation company that provides account aggregation services, takes a look at how families with $50,000 and under in income spent the first two monthly checks. While the expanded credit has certain income cutoffs, families in that income category are eligible for the full amount. Envestnet | Yodlee found those families generally focused on transferring or saving the initial July payments. The second checks that went out in August mostly went to securities trades. The research only shows that the funds were moved to a securities account. It is not possible to tell for what purposes consumers were earmarking the funds, including whether it was for short- or long-term goals.
Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Linkedinemail
U.S. steps closer to delisting Chinese companies for audit violations
The PCAOB has adopted a new framework that would help it implement a law banning foreign companies from U.S. exchanges if their auditors haven't been inspected by American regulators. It said it would make assessments of audit firms based on factors such as timely access to certain documents and personnel and its ability to investigate potential violations of laws or standards. The move threatens hundreds of China-based businesses which the Chinese Communist Party bans from making their auditing results available. Jeff Mahoney, general counsel for the Council of Institutional Investors, which represents pension funds and other large money managers, said the rule benefits investors because it improves transparency and reduces regulatory uncertainty. And although company delistings could cause some investors to suffer losses, “the alternative of letting one country ignore our federal securities laws is worse for investors and the capital markets in the long run.” 
Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Linkedinemail
Gilded launches crypto tool for QuickBooks
B2B blockchain payments and accounting software provider Gilded has released Compass, a solution that enables advanced mapping capabilities between blockchain wallets and a business’s general ledger. The tool, which integrates with Intuit's QuickBooks Online, is designed for accounting firms and crypto businesses with a large volume of transactions that need to define rules for how crypto transactions are synced. Compass works by simplifying transaction classifications, meant to make it easier to balance crypto wallets and revalue assets at the end of each reporting period.
Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Linkedinemail
Janet Yellen urges Irish finance minister to take global tax deal
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has urged Paschal Donohoe, Ireland's finance minister, to take a “once in a generation opportunity” for a global deal that would stop a race to the bottom on corporate tax rates. Despite pressure from Ms. Yellen and European Union officials, Ireland has not wavered in its opposition as an October deadline approaches to finalize a deal for a global minimum tax of at least 15%, well above its 12.5% rate. Ms. Yellen, during a call with Mr. Donohoe, “expressed appreciation for Ireland’s constructive participation” in the OECD tax reform talks, and the two ministers agreed to keep in close communication on the issue, the Treasury said in a statement. “Secretary Yellen emphasized the goal of stabilizing the international tax system and stopping the race to the bottom through this once in a generation opportunity offered by the OECD Inclusive Framework,” the Treasury added.
Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Linkedinemail
Ida storm damage expected to cost insurers at least $32bn
Ida is poised to join Katrina, Sandy, Harvey and Irma on the list of the top five costliest hurricanes as measured by insured losses. Estimates of Ida’s damage have continued to climb as insurers disclose their costs. In one of the newest revisions, Risk Management Solutions, a major catastrophe-risk modeling firm, has estimated Ida’s U.S. insured losses at between $31bn-$44bn since its August 29th landing in Louisiana. Risk modelers say disruptions to construction- and automotive-industry supply chains, as well as labor shortages, are driving up claims costs. In addition, protracted power outages have stretched out repair times. Policyholders’ claims for Ida’s damage “will take a big chunk out of” coming third-quarter earnings, said David Motemaden, an analyst with Evercore ISI.
Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Linkedinemail


Accountancy Slice delivers the latest, most relevant and useful intelligence to accountants, practice owners, auditors, CFOs and accounting influencers, each weekday morning.

Content is selected to an exacting brief from hundreds of influential media sources and summarised by experienced journalists into an easy-to-read digest email. Accountancy Slice enhances the performance and decision-making capabilities of individuals and teams by delivering the relevant news, innovations and knowledge in a cost-effective way.

If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities within Accountancy Slice, please get in touch via email sales team

This e-mail has been sent to [[EMAIL_TO]]

Click here to unsubscribe