Health & Human Services

Maryland Mailed Medicaid Info to Wrong People Because of 'Programming Error'

January 20, 2014

As many as 383 Medicaid enrollees in Maryland received welcome packets in the mail this month that contained the names and birth dates of strangers, health officials announced Sunday evening. They blamed the mix-up on a “programming error” caused by the chief IT contractor hired to build a health-insurance marketplace for the state.

Officials at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said they learned of the problem Friday after a customer contacted a Medicaid enrollment broker and reported receiving the wrong packet in the mail.

The enrollment packets are automatically assembled by pulling names, addresses and other information from a database of Medicaid enrollees, said Dori Henry, a spokeswoman for the Maryland health exchange. Often the problematic packets had the correct name of the policyholder, but the incorrect names of dependents.

The packets contained names, dates of birth and Medicaid ID numbers, officials said, but not Social Security numbers, financial information or medical information. An initial investigation found that the error affected up to 383 households with 1,078 individuals.

More than 120,000 Marylanders have newly enrolled in Medicaid for this year, many more than the state had projected. About 93,500 of those people were automatically enrolled when Medicaid was expanded in Maryland, and the rest went through the exchange.

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