Government Sting Gains Health Care Coverage Using Fake Names

Friday, July 25, 2014

Since its launch last fall, the new federal healthcare system has been plagued with troubles. First it was broken websites and long delays making it difficult for Americans to sign up for health coverage. Now, the system has been shown to have flaws that can allow applicants to use phony names and information to obtain insurance.


This discovery was made by Congress’ watchdog agency, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which deliberately used fake identities and Social Security numbers to sign up phantom people under Obamacare. The sting operation involved a dozen fictitious applicants, all of whom save one managed to get subsidized health insurance. Six of the online applications were initially rejected, but when investigators used the call-in service, they were approved.


House Republicans, who requested the GAO investigation, used the findings to further criticize the program.


“We are seeing a trend with Obamacare information systems: under every rock, there is incompetence, waste and the potential for fraud,” Representative Dave Camp (R-Michigan), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement. “Now, we learn that in many cases, the exchange is unable to screen out fake identities or documents.”


Officials with the Department of Health and Human ServicesCenters for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which is in charge of Obamacare’s implementation, acknowledged the online system for obtaining coverage still needs work.


“We…will work with GAO to identify additional strategies to strengthen our verification processes during this first year of the Affordable Care Act,” CMS spokesman Aaron Albright told The Washington Post.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Federal Undercover Investigation Signs Up Fake Applicants for ACA Coverage, Subsidies (by Amy Goldstein, Washington Post)

Undercover Probe Finds Obamacare Vulnerable to Fraud (Associated Press)


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