State to audit dependent health coverage

By Andy Jenks - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - In a Friday evening e-mail, that most state workers read Monday, came the news that Virginia is about to audit the health coverage of its employees, or more specifically, their dependents.

"Now we're taking an opportunity to audit dependent eligibility. This is a normal course of being a good steward of public funds," said Department of Human Resource Management Director Sara Wilson.

The audit affects only those workers who cover their families under "you plus one" or "you plus two or more." Audits like this usually succeed in removing an ex-spouse, or children who have gotten too old.

"The amount of savings there, I don't know. We don't have reason to believe that our employees are doing anything really unusual in this, but you gotta go back and check everything, and this is an example," said Governor Tim Kaine.

An early guess is that the state would save $2 to $4 million but there's no real indication yet of just how many people will get cut off.

"If I knew the number of ineligibles I wouldn't have to do the audit," said Wilson.

One catch is that employees who carried an ineligible dependent, would have to pay back any of that person's benefits received since July 1. But for most people, the audit would involve only a letter in the mail and answering a question.

"You just have to check a box, yes, this is eligible, or no it's not. It's that easy," said Wilson.

Even the Director of Governmental Employees Association said "the intent here is to save money. This is an appropriate thing to be doing."

"The goal is to make sure that we know that we are covering those that should be covered," Wilson said.

State human resources will have staff on hand to answer questions over the phone. Information for that will be included in the audit, which will be sent out in the next few weeks.

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