Wisconsin human services officials are defending their decision not to notify several thousand residents whose Social Security payments were reduced by up to $300 to pay Medicare premiums for three months because of a computer glitch in a newly installed computer system.
The state Health Services Department said up to 5,000 participants in the states Medicare Premium Assistance program had their monthly payments taken out of their Social Security checks for February, March and April, spokesman Seth Boffeli said. The state program is supposed to use Medicaid funds to pay the participants premiums in the Medicare Part B program, which costs less than $100 a month per recipient.
State officials said that they were content to let the Social Security Administration notify the affected residents of the glitch. An Associated Press story said the department only publicly acknowledged the situation after the news service inquired about it. A March 19 AP story quoted several indignant state lawmakers who blasted the agency as irresponsible and uncaring.
The state has paid more than $64 million for a new computer system to run its Medicaid program. The system processes about 30 million claims a year for 51,000 providers of public insurance care, replacing a system built in 1977.