State removes 6,200 people from health care coverage - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

State removes 6,200 people from health care coverage

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OLYMPIA, Wash. – An audit conducted by the state agency that provides health insurance to state employees has identified 6,200 dependents who should not receive coverage.

The Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) program covers more than 334,000 people including state employees, retired state employees, and retired K-12 employees.  Among those covered are 142,000 dependents who were the subject of the audit.  PEBB is administered by the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA).

"Removing these people from PEBB coverage means the state will avoid about $20 million in health care costs annually," according to HCA Administrator Doug Porter.  The PEBB program spends about $1.5 billion per year on health care.  The state spent about $350,000 on the audit.

The PEBB audit was conducted much like audits by other large employers including Boeing, Weyerhaeuser, and the state of Montana.  The PEBB results were similar to those audits – about 4.4 percent were identified as ineligible for coverage.

"This initiative has been a win for the state," Porter said.  "Neither taxpayers nor the people covered by PEBB want to be paying for those who are not supposed to receive coverage."

Porter said the agency does not anticipate doing another wide scale audit.  From this point forward, dependents of new hires will undergo a more thorough review to confirm they are eligible for coverage.