Caldwell not spared from statewide Medicaid mistake

Jan. 14, 2014 @ 09:09 AM

Just before New Year’s, new Medicaid recipients in North Carolina were supposed to be sent their 2014 Medicaid cards, but many went to the wrong recipients.

It’s unclear how many people in Caldwell County were affected, but the Caldwell County Department of Social Services has been fielding phone calls from customers unhappy or confused about the mix-up, said director Joyce Edwards.

Due to new eligibility rules from the Affordable Care Act effective Jan. 1, 70,253 North Carolina children were switched from NC Health Choice to Medicaid, prompting the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to mail new cards to those recipients, said a DHHS press release. Of those, 48,752 were mailed to the wrong recipients.

Cards show the child’s name, Medicaid ID number, date of birth and primary care physician’s name and address, but no Social Security numbers were released.

The cards were mailed on Dec. 30, and the first reports of delivery to the wrong recipients were received the next day.

The incident is being blamed on “human error in computer programming and the quality-assurance process in printing the new Medicaid identification cards,” said a Jan. 6 press release.

Edwards said Medicaid fraud would be unlikely because the cardholder must provide identification to receive services.

But DHHS is communicating with care providers and provider associations to remind them to verify a Medicaid beneficiary’s eligibility and identity each time a service is rendered, according to a document sent to county DSS directors.

Parents or guardians are advised to destroy the incorrect cards by shredding or cutting into small pieces, or by turning the cards in to their local DSS office.

Correct cards should arrive in consumers’ mailboxes around the end of the month, officials say.

Anyone with questions is encouraged to call the DHHS Customer Service Center at 1-800-662-7030.