State Capitol News
3:45 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

Report: AZ's Medicaid Paying out $50 Million Too Much

A new report today says the state's Medicaid program is paying out up to an extra $50 million a year to provide care for those who are ineligible. 

The study done by the state Auditor General's Office finds a 1.1 percent error rate in cases where people were determined to qualify for the free care. Auditor General Debbie Davenport said that appears to be half of what federal officials found for Arizona in 2008, the last time the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services did its own report on the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. That same year, Davenport said, the average error rate of the 17 states studied was 6.7 percent. But Davenport said that 1.1 percent rate still translates to real money, with the state paying out up to $4.8 million a month for ineligible patients. Gov. Jan Brewer said her administration is going to do what it need to fix the problem.

"It's a 1 percent error rate, much better than most states in regards to Medicaid that are seeing almost across the country a 6 percent error rate," the Governor said. "But every dollar counts. And we're going to do our best to rectify this."

Davenport said her auditors found that caseworkers do verify social security numbers electronically. What they do not do regularly is use electronic matching to verify income or citizenship. Davenport said the state should also require additional training of caseworkers, especially in areas her auditors found were prone to errors. 

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