Prior to last year, the Ann Arbor Public Schools had 200 supposed employee dependents receiving health care benefits who were in actuality not eligible as legitimate dependents. The district discovered the problem last year, and the ineligible dependents were immediately deleted from the district’s health insurance plan. The Ann Arbor school district has 3,040 full time employees, according to the state of Michigan.

Michigan Capitol Confidential put in a Freedom of Information Act request asking for documents the district used to verify that listed dependents of employees enrolled in the health plan were really legitimate dependents eligible for the district’s health insurance coverage. The request resulted from a tip from a former district employee who alleged that the district never asked for verification when employees signed up their dependents.

The district said it does not have a form to verify documentation under the new federal health care requirements and instead asks for documentation in the form of a birth certificate. Liz Margolis, the spokeswoman for the district, said it hired a company to review its dependent coverage last year.

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She said the review was extensive. Forms were sent out, and if employees didn’t respond, insurance was not renewed. In some instances, employees had to give affidavits about dependents.

“We were very responsible to run the audit and save the district money,” Margolis stated in an e-mail.

The more detailed information, such as how long the ineligible dependents were covered, is pending in another Freedom of Information Act request.

“How much is this happening all over the state?” asked Michael Van Beek, education policy director for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. “It is just a flat out extra cost to taxpayers.”

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Workers who chose to leave unions want to fend for themselves but current law requires unions in union shops to negotiate their pay and work conditions. "Worker's Choice" gives employees the freedom to choose representation.

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