GAO: Medicaid flaws found

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People seeking Medicaid coverage for long-term care are subjected to differing asset-verification checks among the states, a new report finds.

States inconsistently used asset verification methods such as reviewing earned income, unearned income, and financial and investment resources, the Government Accountability Office reported.

As of 2011, not a single state had enacted a 2009 law that requires states to put in place an electronic verification of assets system, the report notes. All 50 states, however, have conducted data matches with the Social Security Administration.

“Given the complexities involved, it may be reasonable for states to adhere to a risk-based approach and focus their eligibility determination efforts on applicants who appear to be more likely to have assets or to have transferred assets that would make them ineligible,” report authors wrote.

Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) requested the GAO investigation to ensure that only qualified individuals receive Medicaid benefits for long-term care. Medicaid paid for almost half of the nation's $263 billion long-term care expenditures in 2010.

States are charged with conducting asset verification investigations to prevent beneficiaries from deliberately impoverishing themselves to qualify for Medicaid prior to applying for coverage.
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