Illinois paid $12 million in Medicaid benefits in the past two years for people who were already dead, according to a state audit.
A financial audit of the Illinois Department of Health and Family Services found that Illinois has 8,232 dead people still on Medicaid rolls receiving benefits.
The state has been paying monthly premiums, at the cost of close to $7 million, for 561 people who have been dead an average of two years before they were ever signed up for the Medicaid program, the Chicago Sun Times reports.
“A person was dead for 663 days and then they were signed up for Managed Care,” Auditor General Bill Holland told the Sun Times. “They need to improve their system to ensure the death dates for current enrollees, and just to ensure that people who were deceased were not enrolled.”
About 24,000 Illinois Medicaid recipients die every year, according to the state, and the Medicaid program is expanding courtesy of Obamacare. Medicaid patients should, of course, be removed from the system upon death, but the state’s failure to do so for thousands of people has been costly.
A spokeswoman for the Health and Family Services Department said that the state has been able to get $7 million of its overpayments back from private organizations and hopes to receive refunds for everything.
“We expect to have it all back,” spokeswoman Joanne von Alroth said in a statement. “The organizations and providers who were overpaid acknowledged that it was a mistake. This was disclosed to us more than a month ago, and we immediately addressed it… as soon as we were made aware of it, we took immediate action.”
In addition to the thousands of actually dead patients, the state audit noted several cases that had been referred to the inspector general for investigation. The state paid $29,860 for 816 medical services supposedly for an individual who died in 1989. The deceased individual’s name was used from 2005 until 2013.