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House Republicans Renew Push for Improved Eligibility Verification Following MNsure Audit Showing as much as $271 million in Improper Payments

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

SAINT PAUL, MN – On Wednesday, February 3, 2016, Representative Matt Dean (R-Dellwood), Chair of the Health and Human Services Finance Committee, will hold a hearing to review the nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Auditor's (OLA) report on the Minnesota Department of Human Services and MNsure eligibility determinations for public programs. That report, released last week, revealed that the state spent between $115 and $271 million in improper payments to ineligible MNsure public enrollees between January and May of last year. 

"MNsure keeps spending money, but for most Minnesotans on MNsure, things just get worse.  Minnesota spent $271 million in just a five-month period, as the state made payments to people who were either enrolled in the wrong public program or should never have been enrolled in a public program at all," said Rep. Dean. "Thousands were wrongfully kicked off health care, while others believed they had insurance only to find they were uninsured.  While middle class Minnesota struggles to pay for health insurance, hundreds of millions of dollars are being wasted."

To protect Minnesotans in need, and to save wasted money, House Republicans passed legislation last session to improve our state's public program eligibility verification.  It was estimated to save $300 million. However, several critics of that legislation including the Dayton Administration and Democrats in the House and Senate disputed those savings. The OLA report estimates that proper eligibility determination could have saved as much as $271 million in just one quarter.

"Last week's legislative audit report reinforces the taxpayer savings that would result from improving eligibility verification for our public programs," added Rep. Dean. "I don't think critics can continue to claim that these savings are an illusion or that MNsure is properly verifying enrollees. Either you believe that the OLA report is a lie, or you must conclude that MNsure, as it exists, is beyond repair."

Key findings in the OLA Report include:

•    Overpayments between $115 and $271 million were made for ineligible MNsure public program enrollees between January and May 2015
•    In the sample cases examined by the OLA, a 38 percent error rate was found for those who enrolled in either Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare programs through MNsure; of that  38 percent, three-quarters were ineligible for any public program
•    There are an estimated 80,902 to 132,140 people who enrolled in public programs through MNsure that are either in the wrong program or ineligible for coverage
•    MNsure has not fixed nine of 11 problems detailed in a 2014 audit done by OLA