District paid private contractor $83k to uncover the problem
The Ann Arbor Public Schools paid $766,800 extra to carry 200 ineligible dependents on its health care plan in 2010, according to district documents recently obtained by Michigan Capitol Confidential.
The district paid a private contractor, Employee Benefit Eligibility Solutions, $82,778 to audit its employee benefits in 2010, and the contractor discovered the 200 ineligible dependents. This information was made available in documents released Thursday by the district in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Michigan Capitol Confidential.
Ann Arbor Public Schools spokeswoman Liz Margolis has called the audit “very productive.” 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.
Last month, Ann Arbor Public Schools stated that it conducted the audit, but didn’t provide details of the cost or the length of time that the 200 ineligible dependents were receiving benefits. In the June 8 response to the FOIA request, Margolis stated that the school district could not determine the amount of time the ineligible dependents had been covered by the district benefits policy.
Michigan Capitol Confidential received a tip from a former Ann Arbor Public Schools employee. They stated that the district had never asked for documentation when employees signed up their dependents. The Mackinac Center’s news website has put in other FOIA requests to other school districts about their policy for verifying dependent eligibility.