Friday, January 05, 2007

Local Governments pay health benefits for the Dead

Could I make this stuff up??? Liz B's(Capitol Confidential) Working At the Eleventh Hour (Updated) "The state comptroller’s office today released an audit that found nine local governments paid $786,481 for health insurance for 65 retirees or dependent spouses of retirees who had died - some as many as 12 years ago.
After learning of the audit, five of the municipalities recouped $592,042 from insurance providers. Repayments to the other four are pending.
The entities that made the overpayments include: the county and city of Albany, Niagara county, Rochester, Syracuse, Troy the town of Oyster Bay, the Buffalo City School District and Brentwood Union Free School District.' Just is nice to see my Town of Oyster Bay listed among the group...........Liz goes on "What’s of particular interest here is that
letters were sent to at least two of the auditees (Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings and Albany County Executive Mike Breslin) on Dec. 22 - the very day ex-state Comptroller Alan Hevesi resigned in disgrace.
Hevesi’s name appeared at the top of the letterhead. The letters were signed, however, by Assistant Comptroller Steven J. Hancox, which isn’t so out of the ordinary, I’m told.
UPDATE: Rick and I posted on this at about the same time. Below are excerpts from his entry.
The comptrollers audit found that the payment errors were largely due to sloppy record keeping and/ or inadequate checks and balances.
Finding the dead who were sill insured wasn’t that hard: OCA simply looked to the federal Social Security Administration which maintains a “Death Master File,'’ or record of those who have passed away.
What are municipalities doing to make sure this doesn’t happen again?
In Albany, they’ve started double-checking health insurance payments, and according to Bob Van Amburgh, executive assistant to Jennings, the obituaries are being read on a regular basis to make sure the city isn’t insuring the dearly departed." Your tax dollars hard at work for you???? andy

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