The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services is claiming that the state of Alabama has been overpaid more than $88 million by the Medicaid program--and wants the money back, reported the Montgomery Advertiser.
According to the Advertiser, Alabama officials had apparently miscalculated the number of children enrolled in the Medicaid program between 2009 and 2010 by more than 92,000. An Office of the Inspector General report concluded that Alabama reported the total number of children enrolled in Medicaid each year, rather than rolling monthly averages, numbers which regularly shift.
The overpayments were the result of bonus payments made to states to offset the cost of enrolling more kids in the Children's Health Insurance Program during the recession. Alabama received more than a third of the $295 million in payments doled out by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services under the program, according to the Weekly Standard. Had Alabama properly calculated what it was owed, it would have received $7.1 million, as opposed to the more than $95 million it did get.
State officials said they are unsure if they can repay the money. "The money [Alabama] Medicaid got in 2009 and 2010, that's not just money sitting in a pot," Don Williamson, head of a Medicaid reform program in Alabama, told the Advertiser. "It went into the general fund and went into Medicaid."
Williamson suggested that credits for other Medicaid payments Alabama has yet to receive could be applied toward what is owed, according to the Advertiser.