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Conaway, Eustace, Vainieri Huttle, Lagana & Pinkin Measure to Create Medicaid Smart Card Pilot Program & Address Fraud Clears Assembly

Measure Aims to Curb Abuse and Help Residents’ Reduce Monthly Medicaid Costs

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Herb Conaway M.D., Tim Eustace, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Joseph Lagana and Nancy Pinkin to increase efficiency in the state Medicaid program and reduce monthly costs for recipients was approved in the Assembly on Thursday, 67-0.

The bill (A-1951) would establish the Medicaid Smart Card Pilot Program. The pilot program would be designed to reduce average monthly cost to Medicaid for recipients within the pilot program area by an amount that is relative to the costs of implementing the pilot program.

“Many residents rely on Medicaid services for healthcare,” said Conaway (D-Burlington). “Developing a more efficient system for Medicaid would preserve the integrity of the program and make it more accessible to those who truly need it. This pilot program would help us discover if and how we may improve the system.”

“Fraudulent behavior can be contributed to the rising costs of Medicaid in the state,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). “The system the state uses to distribute and track Medicaid must protect the interests of the seniors and residents who depend on it.”

“This is a common sense and fiscally responsible step,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “With this program, we can modernize the Medicaid system and improve services for clients. Both are positives.”

“We need new and innovative ideas to save money and improve services in New Jersey,” said Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). “We need to watch every dollar we spend, while ensuring vital services for our most vulnerable residents are delivered as efficiently as possible.”

“The objective of the pilot program is to reduce the total amount of Medicaid expenditures by reducing the average cost per designated recipient,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “The bill would also discourage Medicaid card fraud and abuse.”

The Commissioner of Human Services will determine the geographic area to be included in the pilot program and may contract with an independent entity as determined appropriate for the purpose of developing and implementing the pilot program. The pilot program would include, but not limited to (1) enrollment of designated recipients as pilot program participants; (2) distribution of Medicaid Smart Card to those recipients; (3) authentication of designated recipients at the point of transaction, in order to prevent card sharing and other forms of abuse and fraud; and any efforts necessary to protect the personal identity and information of the designated recipients; and (4) developing policies and procedures as necessary to the distribution and activation of the Medicaid Smart Cards for designated recipients.

The bill directs the commissioner to apply for such State plan amendments or waivers as may be necessary to implement and to secure such federal Medicaid funding as may be available for State expenditures under the bill. The commissioner would be further directed under the bill to report to the Governor and the Legislature, two years after the effective date of the bill, on the resists of the pilot program.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee released the bill on December 15.