In light of a recent report from the Illinois Auditor General that found the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS) paid $3.7 million for medical services to more than 1,000 people who were already recorded as dead, State Senator Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) filed legislation to take waste, fraud, and abuse out of the Medicaid system by making it work correctly and honestly for people who actually need the benefits and for Illinois taxpayers.
“This report is unbelievable,” Senator Righter said. “We have real needs in this state regarding health insurance, and we can see this government has not been doing its job. That must change now.”
Under legislation filed by Righter, DHFS must enter into a contract with a third party vendor who would examine Illinois’ Medicaid rolls to make sure Medicaid recipients on the list are eligible to receive benefits. This would include income verification and determining whether the person is alive.
“We tried to do this in the past,” Righter said. “Governor Quinn initially claimed to embrace it, but then pulled the plug. I am thankful we have a new leader now in Governor Rauner, who will make sure people who are supposed to receive Medicaid benefits actually get them and people who are gaming the system, no longer do.”
In 2013, a state-hired private contractor, Maximus, identified more than 220,000 people it said should be dropped from the Medicaid rolls. Illinois then removed more than 114,000 from the system. But, before Maximus could finish combing through the millions of more names in the system, the state pulled them off the job.
“It’s clear, the state could save hundreds of millions of dollars if we simply verify income and make sure people who are receiving aid are alive. It’s common sense,” Righter said. “There are thousands of people who need Medicaid insurance. Those are the people who are being short-changed because the system is filled with fraud. In light of that and our budget crisis, now is the time to reform our Medicaid system. The state can’t do this verification on its own. There isn’t the time or the resources.”