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Audit: State gave some MNsure enrollees benefits, plans they were ineligible for

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Some Minnesotans who signed up for public health care programs through MNsure were given benefits they weren't actually eligible for, because the state did not adequately check submitted information.

That's according to a report by the state's Office of the Legislative Auditor, which found recipients of Medical Assistance, MinnesotaCare, and Children’s Health Insurance Program – which offer coverage to low-income residents – were not always properly vetted by the state's Department of Human Services.

In fiscal year 2014, the state spent $4.4 billion of its own money (along with another $5.2 billion in federal dollars) to pay for benefits under the three programs.

To reach its findings, the audit randomly selected 100 cases (representing 193 people) for detailed testing and verification. The closer look found 17 percent of those people were not eligible for the public health program in which they were enrolled.

The next MNsure open enrollment period begins in just two days.

According to the audit, the department didn't verify people enrolled in the programs were actually eligible; paid benefits for some people whose income or household size actually made them ineligible for those benefits; incorrectly put people in MinnesotaCare when they were eligible for Medical Assistance; and didn't correctly charge premiums for MinnestoaCare recipients for three months.

The audit listed a handful of other discrepancies and issues as well.

MinnesotaCare is paid for with "state and federal tax dollars, provider taxes and premiums paid by people who are enrolled," the health department's website says. With Medical Assistance, "federal and state dollars" pay for the program.

Read the full audit here:

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