A Florida agency paid an estimated $26.2 million in Medicaid benefits over a five-year period to dead people, a government watchdog reported Tuesday.
The Florida Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Program continued paying people after they died because the agency didn’t update beneficiaries’ death dates or collaborate with other agencies that track deaths, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources Inspector General (IG) found.
“The state agency did not always stop making … payments after a beneficiary’s death, despite its efforts to identify and recover any overpayments,” the IG wrote. (RELATED: Social Security Administration Sends $165 Million To DEAD People)
The Florida agency consequently overpaid an estimated $26.2 million, nearly $15.4 million of which was paid with federal money, between July 2009 and November 2014. (RELATED: DEAD Govt Workers Get $1.7 Million From Social Security)
The IG reviewed 124 payments the Florida agency made and found that state officials only recovered 10 before the watchdog’s audit began. The agency only corrected another 34 payments over the course of the IG’s work.
The watchdog recommended Florida recover the overpayments and refund the federal government its share.
The state agency “did not indicate whether it agreed or did not agree,” claimed that $23.7 million was recovered and that another $206,000 “was not paid in error,” the IG wrote.
The IG did not verify if the money was actually recovered or if the federal government was reimbursed.
The watchdog also recommended ensuring that death dates are kept updated.
Similarly, Tennessee paid $5 million to dead Medicaid beneficiaries, nearly two-thirds of which was spent with federal funds, the IG found in 2004.
The federal government’s use of computer matching names in databases to eliminate duplicates was pioneered during the Reagan administration by then-HHS IG Richard Kusserow.
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