‘They said that I had died.’ RI, Deloitte seeking fix for inaccurate Medicaid terminations

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – An unknown number of Rhode Islanders have received Medicaid termination notices in error in recent weeks, Eyewitness News has confirmed after receiving multiple complaints.

Krista, who asked to be identified only by her first name, contacted Call 12 for Action last month when she received a termination notice from HealthSource RI. The letter said her family’s Medicaid benefits would be terminated, effective Nov. 30, due to a death in the family – her own.

“They said that I had died,” Krista said, adding: “As you can see, I’m not dead!”

At the time, state officials said Krista’s issue appeared to be an isolated incident caused by human error.

But after Krista’s interview aired, several other Eyewitness News viewers came forward to say they had received similar Medicaid termination notices due to a death. In each case, they said, nobody had died.

“This is not an isolated incident. I too received the letter,” one Rhode Islander wrote in an email. “I got the same that my son is dead and he’s still going strong at 20 yrs old,” wrote another.

A third viewer wrote, “My mother was told that they had ‘verified my death’ and actually had the nerve to ask her if she was sure that myself nor anyone in my family had passed away recently.”

Some said their issues have been resolved. Others said they still don’t have coverage.

HealthSource RI spokesperson Kyrie Perry said it’s unclear exactly how many Rhode Islanders received the inaccurate Medicaid termination notices.

“The state is continuing to research this issue,” Perry said in an email. “It is clear that there are some individuals who are receiving notices that their Medicaid coverage will be terminated because they are deceased when, in fact, they are not.”

The issue has arisen as Rhode Island continues to struggle with the Unified Health Infrastructure Project (UHIP), its problem-plagued new computer system for benefits, being built by Deloitte at an estimated cost of $492 million through 2019.

On the Medicaid termination issue, Perry said, “The state is continuing to work with Deloitte to fully diagnose and resolve this issue as soon as possible to ensure that these individuals have the coverage they need.”

Since its launch in September 2016, UHIP system glitches have affected benefits for tens of thousands of Rhode Islanders, including Medicaid, child care assistance, and SNAP benefits for food.

Susan Campbell (scampbell@wpri.com) is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.