State Department:

Need to Ensure Recovery of Overseas Medical Expenses

NSIAD-92-277: Published: Aug 7, 1992. Publicly Released: Sep 9, 1992.

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Joseph E. Kelley
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of State's controls over the medical expenses incurred by overseas employees and dependents, focusing on three embassies' procedures and systems for determining whether they ensure full recovery of paid government medical benefits payable to insured employees and dependents.

GAO found that: (1) there is no centralized system that ensures that embassies account for and collect reimbursable medical expenses; (2) the embassies had weaknesses in their accountability for and control over medical expenses and reimbursements; (3) similar weaknesses have been identified at other embassies; and (4) there are problems in accounting for payments for medical services provided to eligible employees and dependents at medical facilities in the United States.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In fiscal year 1994, the State Department collected $1.6 million in funds paid for overseas medical expenses that were owed to the government, and is implementing processes to ensure that these expenses are tracked, reimbursements are identified, employees are held accountable, and funds owed to the U.S. government are paid promptly.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of State should ensure that systems are developed to identify and report on: (1) the amount authorized and paid by each embassy for medical expenses, by employee, and the date expenses were authorized or paid; (2) the names of the employees' insurer and the date employees filed claims for reimbursement; (3) the amount of recoverable expenses paid to employees and the amount employees remitted to the government; and (4) delinquencies or problems employees experience in filing claims or remitting recoverable expenses to the government.

    Agency Affected: Department of State


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