Healthcare.gov Approves Fake Applicants in GAO Sting

Healthcare.gov approved subsidized coverage in 2015 for 10 fictitious applicants in another Government Accountability Office (GAO) sting, according to a report from the investigative agency.

The GAO created 10 applications whose features included impossible Social Security numbers and claims to work for an employer offering health insurance not meeting Obamacare. Some applicants already had health-care coverage.

“For these 10 applications, we were approved for subsidized coverage—the premium tax credit, paid in advance, and cost sharing reduction subsidies—for all cases,” the agency said. While eight of the fake applicants failed to clear an initial identify checking step, after calling the marketplaces the applications were approved.

The agency also tested controls for eight fake applicants trying to get Medicaid coverage. These applicants either included invalid Social Security numbers, or they claimed they were noncitizens who declined to provide a Social Security number.

Seven of the eight fictitious applicants were approved for subsidized health-care coverage and three were approved for Medicaid.

Last year, Healthcare.gov did the same thing, approving coverage for fictitious accounts for the 2014 coverage year.

“CMS accepted fabricated documentation with these applications without attempting to verify its authenticity and enrolled fake applicants while handing out thousands of dollars in premium tax subsidies,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) at a hearing on July 16, 2015.