MD: Medicaid mailing mishap leaks personal information; state blames health exchange contractor

Michael Quander reports:

The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange has another problem on their hands after hundreds of Medicaid enrollment packages were mistakenly mailed to the wrong addresses.

The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene explained they were first alerted to the problem on Friday. A customer called an enrollment broker saying they had received the wrong Medicaid packet.

The enrollment packets include the customer’s name, date of birth, and Medicaid identification number, according to state health officials.

An investigation has revealed the mailing error affected nearly 400 households and 1,078 people.

The state is blaming the health exchange’s prime contractor, Noridian, for the error:

The state said the company experienced a programming error leaking the personal information.

Read more on ABC2.

In a statement issued January 19, the state says:

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced today that as a result of a programming error by Noridian, the prime contractor for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, a small percentage of Medicaid enrollment packages were mistakenly sent to the wrong addresses.

Information in the Medicaid enrollment packet includes name, date of birth, and Medicaid ID number. It does not contain Social Security number, financial information, or medical information. There was no external incursion into the system or security breach by an outside entity.

An initial investigation has found that the error affected up to 383 households with 1,078 individuals. This is fewer than 1% of the number of Marylanders enrolled in Medicaid to date with coverage beginning on January 1.

The issue was identified on Friday, after a consumer contacted the Medicaid enrollment broker and reported receiving the wrong Medicaid enrollment package. The state team immediately took action:

The mailing of enrollment packages was stopped on Friday as the matter was investigated. The Maryland Health Connection Consumer Services Center and Medicaid’s enrollment broker have been instructed how to assist callers who may have received the wrong information.

Over the weekend, staff from Medicaid and IT have worked to trace the problem to its source and assess its scope. This initial review has found that the error was the result of a programming error by Noridian. No other individuals appear to be affected.
The Department will notify directly everyone who has been affected and will send the correct enrollment packages early this week.

Individuals who receive the wrong Medicaid enrollment information should call the Maryland Health Connection Consumer Service Center at 1-855-642-8572. All affected individuals have active Medicaid coverage and can still access services.

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