Audit Reveals Illinois Pays Thousands to Ineligible Medicaid Recipients
In January, Illinois launched an effort to cut wasteful Medicaid spending. Instead of across-the-board cuts to all recipients the state attempted to find fraudulent applicants. The initial results proved to be astonishing. Of the 1st 20,500 recipients screened by the outside contractor, the auditors recommended that 13,709 be removed. Two-thirds of the initial group proved to be ineligible.
The auditors stated that in some cases the recipients made too much money to qualify for the benefits. Others didn’t even live in the state! Julie Hamos, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services chief, told the Chicago Tribune that the “first crop of screened recipients” were “low-hanging fruit.” They were accounts that had been flagged by her departments as suspicious. She says the percentage of fraudulent recipients should decrease as the audit continues.
You may be now asking yourself why this department, if they truly suspected fraud, waited until this endeavor began to “weed” out these frauds. Illinois simply didn’t really care. Once a person gained coverage, the state did nothing to ensure the applicants remained eligible. Last year, state lawmakers were forced to cut Medicaid benefits to save money. These cuts hurt recipients that truly needed the assistance.
Governor Pat Quinn has indicated he will accept the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. The state will thus add an estimated 500,000 new people to the Medicaid rolls. With the large influx of new recipients the state has to seriously undertake discovering fraudulent activity.
I’ve been advocating for a long time that I think the federal government should begin audits into EVERY budget. Everyone who receives any benefit should be reexamined. The country and individual states will find millions of dollars in cuts simply by catching people cheating the system. Why no one has undertaken such an endeavor is beyond me? If anything this new task force would create jobs throughout the country.
What ideas do you have to cuts costs?
Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate