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August 11, 2023

OIG Issues Favorable Opinion of Marketplace Search Engine

On July 11, 2023, the HHS Office of the Inspector General issued an advisory opinion favorable to a technology company’s operation of an online health care directory that lets beneficiaries search for and book medical appointments with providers and that displays sponsored advertisements. According to the opinion, providers pay a fee for appointments booked with them on the [m]arketplace, and beneficiaries are notified that the providers pay these fees. The algorithm otherwise filters and prioritizes providers in search results according to “criteria set by [u]sers and other [U]ser-centric information.”  The OIG noted that while the arrangement could trigger a Federal anti-kickback violation (among others), the OIG exercised its discretion by deciding not to impose administrative sanctions. 

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