Las Vegas (CBS LAS VEGAS) — A Nevada resident mistakenly received multiple Medicaid cards for himself and his son months after his information was automatically forwarded to state welfare services through the Nevada Health Link website – a mistake made worse because he never even completed enrollment.
Kevin Cusack said he thought someone was playing a joke on him when he received Medicaid cards for him and his in his mailbox last Tuesday on April Fool’s Day.
“I thought there is no way they could time it that good where I got cards on April 1 for Medicaid, when I don’t qualify for Medicaid,” Cusack told KTNV-TV.
But it was no joke, and now Cusack is looking to alert others that the state’s Affordable Care Act site began automatically forwarding incomplete online applications to the Department of Welfare and Supportive Services for those who were eligible, but never finished the process.
In October, Cusack says he was checking insurance rates for different income levels in order to better advise clients in his financial planning business.
“All I did was play around with the system and left it,” he told KTNV.
But Health Link officials believe that every time he looked at the rates for the various income levels he was inadvertently submitting his official income even without completing the entire enrollment process. Health Link officials said that Cusack was one of many people not completing the process, and in November the system was changed to automatically forward applications to the Department of Welfare and Supportive Services regardless of whether the process was completed or not.
As was the case with Cusack, a Health Link spokesperson told KTNV that the exact amount of people’s information automatically forwarded to the state welfare office is unknown, but that it is likely in the thousands.
“I don’t care how it happened, they just need to be aware that it did happen so they can fix it,” Cusack told KTNV.
Cusack’s unwanted Medicaid cards arrived in his mailbox as countless Nevada residents continue to complain that they have not received their cards even months after completing their applications for Medicaid – a program that has grown by one-third, or 118,000 participants, since expanded eligibility under the federal health care reform law took effect in Nevada.
Figures released last Friday by the Department of Health and Human Services show Nevada’s Medicaid caseload was 434,819 as of March 31, an increase of 117, 635 from the same month a year before, reports The Associated Press.
That increase includes nearly 64,000 people who were first-time qualifiers for Medicaid as of Jan. 1, when Nevada expanded eligibility to include childless adults with an income up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.
The Division of Welfare and Supportive Services currently has a backlog of 66,000 applications waiting processing.
As Cusack works with the Department of Health and Human Services to correct the Medicaid mistake, the state welfare office said it has tried to contact many of the people who had incomplete applications that were forwarded to the Department of Welfare and Supportive Services.
In a statement released Monday, officials said that some applications may have been processed that were not intended for completion.
Cusack says that part of his motivation is simply to follow the law, noting that the paperwork explicitly states that it is fraud to use a Medicaid card someone is not qualified to receive.