The Minnesota Department of Human Services failed to comply with state and federal requirements to verify Social Security numbers and income eligibility for MinnesotaCare participants, according to a new report by the Office of the Legislative Auditor. The problems with verification were first identified by auditors a decade ago, but DHS has failed to resolve the issue.
“The department did not include MinnesotaCare participants in the file matches it performed for other cash, food, and medical benefit programs because it could not easily integrate MinnesotaCare data, recorded on one computer system, with the information for those programs, recorded on another computer system,” the report notes.
MinnesotaCare cost the state more than $500 million in 2012 and provided health insurance coverage to nearly 130,000 individuals. The program serves families that make too much money to be eligible for Medicaid, but can’t afford coverage on the open market.
When problems with verifying eligibility were first identified in 2003, DHS indicated that it was developing a new computer system, known as HealthMatch, that would resolve the issue. But the HealthMatch program was abandoned as a failure in 2008, after $40 million had been spent on its development.
In responding to the audit’s findings, DHS Commissioner Lucinda Jesson didn’t dispute the problems with Social Security and income verification for MinnesotaCare participants. “The department agrees with and supports the findings and recommendations of this report,” Jesson wrote. “The key weaknesses found in our processes to verify income for applicants of our public assistance programs are issues we take very seriously. We will work diligently to correct them.”