Blue State to Repay $52M in Federal Medicaid Disbursements for Illegals

( – Recently, California agreed to reimburse the federal government with more than $52 million following a determination by a federal inspector general. The state wrongly claimed Medicaid reimbursements for noncitizens with immigration statuses deemed unsatisfactory.

An examination conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services, overseen by Inspector General Christi Grimm, reviewed over $372 million in federal Medicaid reimbursements allocated for noncitizens in fiscal year 2019. Of that amount, $52.7 million was improperly filed according to federal requirements. The inspector general blamed an outdated calculation metric for the error.

The California Department of Health Care Services acknowledged the findings and stated they would repay the federal government in full by June 30th, 2024. The department has collaborated with the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to create a more precise service identification approach.

The federal Medicaid agency-initiated audit marks another challenge for California, which is currently dealing with a $ 44.9 billion deficit. State officials mentioned that the repayment had already been considered in California’s budget plan, which involves several spending cuts.

According to federal law, states are typically prohibited from claiming Medicaid reimbursement for providing healthcare services to immigrants who do not meet federal requirements, except in cases of emergency care. Despite these limitations, states have the option to broaden their Medicaid programs to offer extra services financed by the states themselves. California has gradually extended its Medi-Cal program to provide coverage for immigrants in the country without legal authorization.

The Inspector General’s Office advised California to reimburse the money and collaborate with federal regulators to investigate whether additional federal funds were wrongly claimed in years outside the audit’s scope. A spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said the federal agency was aware of the report and was working with the state of California to address issues raised by the audit.

The California Department of Health Care Services said it is working with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to develop a more refined methodology and updated payment and claiming processes.

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