Contra Costa County Open to Health Benefits Fraud
Contra Costa County does not verify that its employees' dependents are eligible to receive health care benefits, according to a grand jury report released last week, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The report did not find evidence of fraud or abuse but noted that the lack of oversight could contribute to increasing medical costs for the county.
Olga Jones, grand jury foreperson, said county human relations officials do not request marriage licenses, birth certificates or proof of custody when issuing benefits. The county also does not periodically audit recipients to ensure dependents still are eligible, according to Jones.
The county's plan provides coverage for employees' spouses, qualified domestic partners and children that meet age requirements and dependent status on tax returns.
The county pays more than $105 million annually for health care that covers 12,000 retirees and current employees and 16,000 dependents, according to the grand jury (Huff, Contra Costa Times, 3/3).
"Contra Costa County is headed for a fiscal train wreck if it doesn't revise its retirement health benefits," a Contra Costa Times editorial states. "The county is far more generous than the private sector with pension and health benefits for retirees," according to the editorial.
"Certainly, there is room for adjustment, particularly with new employees. But Contra Costa supervisors cannot continue to delay major action to correct a serious fiscal problem before it gets further out of hand," the editorial concludes (Contra Costa Times, 3/5).