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Audit finds city paid for health coverage for deceased spouses

The city of Rochester continued paying for health insurance for deceased people—to the tune of nearly $183,000, a state audit has found.
The audit, by the state Comptroller, found the city paid $182,968 for health insurance coverage for 11 dependent spouses that were deceased and three surviving spouses that were not moved to direct pay. The payments date back as far as 1994.
The city paid the benefits to Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield, and has received $35,473 in reimbursements, the audit states.
The city was among 20 governments—the only one in the Rochester region—audited. It was one of nine entities that paid a total of $786,481 for health insurance for 65 retirees or dependent spouses of retirees who had died, some as many as 12 years ago, because they had inadequate systems for identifying when retirees pass away, the comptroller’s office said.
After learning of the findings of the audit, five municipalities recouped $592,042 or 75 percent of these funds from insurance providers, while repayments are pending for the remaining four municipalities.
Auditors found internal control procedures at 19 of the 20 municipalities could be improved to ensure the accuracy and appropriateness of insurance premium payments.
The auditors compared the retirees and dependent spouses with information from the Social Security Administration to determine whether individuals receiving benefits had died.

(c) 2007 Rochester Business Journal. Obtain permission to reprint this article.

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