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By Brian Stimson of The Skanner News
Published: 19 August 2010

Divorced Spouses. Adult children. Family members who have moved out of the house.

For these reasons and more, the state of Washington has removed 6,200 dependents of public employees from health insurance rolls who they found to no longer be eligible for coverage.
"A lot of large companies have conducted this kind of audit," said Dave Wasser, spokesperson for the Washington State Health Care Authority.
In line with private audits, the state found that about 4.4 percent of people on the state's insurance plan were ineligible to be there.
Wasser said the state is unaware if any of these people were awaiting surgery, had ongoing cancer therapy or other chronic disease issues.
"These are people who should not be covered (under the state's insurance plan)," Wasser said.
By conducting the audit, which cost $350,000, the state will save $20 million every year. The state's coverage system costs $1.5 billion annually and covers state employees, retired state employees and retired K-12 employees. Wasser did not how many people kicked off the insurance program were retired.
"This initiative has been a win for the state," HCA Administrator Doug Porter said. "Neither taxpayers nor the people covered by PEBB want to be paying for those who are not supposed to receive coverage."


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