Report reveals Medicaid benefits for the dead since ’15

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The state paid out more than $1 million on behalf of dead KanCare benificiaries to companies that manage the state’s Medicaid program.

A recent report reveals the payments were made to the managed care companies on behalf of 25 beneficiaries between February 2015 and September 2020.

In some cases, the improper payments continued for as long as five years after the date the beneficiary died, the report said.

The finding was included in the Medicaid inspector general’s annual report that was made public in mid-February.

The Medicaid inspector general identified $1.3 million in monthly payments that were made on behalf of beneficiaries whose deaths preceded the payment dates.

The report found that the state was able to recover about $1.1 million of those payments from the managed care companies.

However, about $170,000 in improper payments made to the managed care company Amerigroup were not recovered because the company’s contract with the state health department ended at the end of 2018, the report said.

The inspector general recommended that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment determine if the money paid to Amerigroup can be recovered.

A spokeswoman for the health department said the agency “identified a few human errors, where a Medicaid case was not closed after date of death information was received and confirmed.

“It also appears that there may be an issue with communication between the state’s Medicaid eligibility system and the system that processes capitation payments,” Kristi Zears said in an email.

“KDHE is continuing to research and isolate the root causes of the erroneous payments,” she said.

As part of its review, the inspector general’s office said voter registration letters were sent to 23 of the 25 beneficiaries in September 2020.

The majority of voter registration letters were sent back to the KanCare Clearinghouse as returned mail.

Tasks were created in the Medicaid eligibility system, which allowed workers to determine why the letters were returned.

“Once workers were able to confirm that the beneficiary was deceased, the computer system was updated with the necessary changes,” the report said.

Republican state Rep. Richard Hilderbrand is chair of the legislative committee that oversees KanCare. He expects the report to be examined at the panel’s next meeting.

“We need to have answers about why that’s happening, how it happened and how to stop it,” Hilderbrand said.

Republican state Rep. Brenda Landwehr, vice chair of the committee, expressed a similar view about the payments.

“I would hope they would find out how it happened,” she said, “and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”