PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- For the third time in two weeks, the state's largest agency is in hot water. The federal government wants the Department of Health and Human Services to repay more than $9 million for overbilling Medicaid. The report came on the heels of news that the agency had overpaid food stamp recipients by $4 million.
Maine is being asked to refund federal officials $9.2 million because of mistakes in calculating claims in the state's Medicaid program known as MaineCare.
According to a report by the federal DHHS Office of the Inspector General, from 2005-2009 Maine officials used the wrong federal match rate on 90 percent of the 637,000 claims paid to health care providers.
Stefanie Nadeau, the Director of MaineCare services, said the federal match rate increased as part of the federal economic stimulus act, and the errors were compounded by a failure in the state's claims processing system, which has since been replaced. Still, people who rely on MaineCare say they are frustrated with the stream of missteps coming out of the agency.
"There are people I know that have been taken off MaineCare, food stamps for whatever reason and they're people that actually need it. That is money they could use here," said Toni Baker, who depends on MaineCare for medical treatment for Crohn's disease.
Nadeau said the state is negotiating with federal officials to lower the refund amount. She said it's too early to tell if the repayment will affect services in the long run.