Need for Improved Administration of Military Identification System To Prevent Improper CHAMPUS Payments

HRD-79-58: Published: Mar 16, 1979. Publicly Released: Mar 16, 1979.

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A review of the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS) revealed that many erroneous benefit payments were made to ineligible persons. Deficiencies in the military identification card system continue, even though a 1971 report discussed many of the same problems.

Improper payments resulted from the lack of an eligibility verification system and weak controls over the issuance and retrieval of identification cards. The identification cards were not always recovered from active duty members and their dependents when the members separated from the service. Many identification cards were issued to replace cards reported lost or stolen; a former service member, however, could retain one card for later use after separation. It was estimated that as much as $12 million may have been paid erroneously, including $3.3 million that should have been paid through the Veterans Administration rather than CHAMPUS. The Department of Defense plans to implement a centralized enrollment system to verify the eligibility of program beneficiaries, but the system is not expected to be fully operational for about 4 to 5 years.

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