Mississippi Auditor: Let Medicaid Verify Income Tax Information

Two Mississippi residents with homes worth more than $ 1 million are covered by Medicaid, a program designed to help low-income residents, according to a report released Monday by the State Audit Office.

Auditor Shad White said these are examples of waste that can be reduced and money that can be saved if Mississippi legislators allow Medicaid to contact the state tax office directly to verify information that people provide when they apply for Medicaid.

Under current state law, the Medicaid department must rely on people to report their income and provide documents such as tax returns. The law prevents the Office from requesting information from the State Tax Department.

White said such verification could save the government money by identifying possible false messages from recipients.

“When you spend more money on Medicaid, it’s less money on other things,” said White, a Republican, during a conference call with reporters.

White’s office on Monday released its annual single audit report on how government agencies spend federal money. It was the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020.

Medicaid provides health coverage for the needy, the elderly, the blind, and the disabled. It is paid for by the federal and state governments. Because Mississippi is one of the poorest states in the country, it receives one of the most generous chunks of federal Medicaid money.

The audit report states that the Mississippi Department of Medicaid is investigating two possible cases of fraud with people receiving Medicaid coverage despite too high income. One person had taxable self-employment income above $ 300,000 and another had taxable self-employment income above $ 100,000. The auditor’s office said it has confirmed that both individuals own homes with a fair market value of more than $ 1 million.

Medicaid states that an adult with two dependent children can earn a maximum of $ 476 per month for a family to be eligible for coverage. That’s $ 5712 per year.

Mississippi has a population of about 3 million. In June, about 773,000 people were enrolled in the state Medicaid program. That’s up from roughly 697,000 in June 2020.

The audit report said both high-income, expensive homes were still receiving Medicaid benefits for over a year.

“The payments for the fiscal year for these two entities, which may not have been eligible for benefits, amounted to $ 9,414 of questionable costs,” the audit report said.

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