Although COVID-19 testing led to a spike in total Medicare Part B spending on clinical diagnostic laboratory testing in 2020, spending on all other testing significantly declined in the same period, according to a brief published by the Office of the Inspector General in December 2021.

Spending on clinical diagnostic tests increased overall from $7.7 billion in 2019, when COVID-19 testing did not exist, to $8 billion in 2020; COVID-19 tests alone represented an increase of $1.5 billion. However, spending on all other testing decreased by 15.9 percent to $6.5 billion. Reasons for the decline may include a reduction in non-COVID-19 testing in the early days of the pandemic, as well as cost reductions required under the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014.

The Office of the Inspector General plans to conduct an audit that will investigate which specific non-COVID-19 tests experienced the greatest decline in 2020, along with overall spending patterns on all laboratory testing billed through Medicare Part B.

To read the full brief, click here: