Unions criticize NJ health care audits

February 17, 2009 4:18:15 AM PST
State workers and their unions are seething over the way an audit of New Jersey's health care plan is being conducted. It's been three weeks since the state launched the review of roughly 225,000 public employees to root out ineligible dependents receiving health benefits.

According to some employees, letters were sent asking them to gather copies of birth certificates, marriage or civil union licenses, and 2007 income tax returns. They were told to send the information to a post office box in Illinois.

Union leaders say workers were asked for extremely invasive, personal information with little or no advance notice. The letters warned that failure to provide the information Feb. 20 would result in terminated benefits.

The state says employees won't be required to reimburse the state for ineligible coverage and that no benefits would be cut off until at least June.

The estimates it's spending up to $185 million for coverage for those who don't qualify.

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Information from: The Star-Ledger, http://www.nj.com/starledger

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