Oakland Schools Pay More Than $2M on Benefits for Dependents No Longer Eligible for Coverage
The Oakland Unified School District spent more than $2 million last year on health insurance benefits for employees' former spouses and grown children who were no longer eligible for coverage, according to a recent audit, the Oakland Tribune reports.
The number of people incorrectly receiving coverage last year totaled about 1,000, according to the audit. Officials said the audit has saved the district about $2.3 million.
Troy Christmas, district head of human resources, said, "This is a process most companies go through, and we hadn't gone through it in about 10 years." Christmas said the district reserves the right to investigate employees for intentional fraud but said it does not plan to do so. "That wasn't really the intent of the whole process in the first place," he said.
Ben Visnick, president of the teachers' union, said insurers should be responsible for maintaining appropriate benefits. "They should be helping the district, and they'd rather just get the premiums and not say anything," Visnick said (Katz, Oakland Tribune, 10/27).