Audit finds benefits coverage for employees no longer working for higher-ed, other entities

TRENTON – The state audit of the pensions and benefit system covering higher education and authorities or commissions has found instances in which terminated employees still had benefits coverage and instances in which the state paid claims after the employee’s termination date.

As part of the audit, the state examined three institutions of higher education and two authorities/commissions and discovered that claims and fees totaling $213,000 were paid on behalf of individuals at three of the entities after the termination date.

One entity had 142 terminated workers still covered, the audit reported. Most of them had ceased employment in 2010.

As a result, the state recommended that a periodic certification be done to ensure only eligible workers are enrolled in the benefits program.

The audit does not identify the institutions involved.

Enclosed with the audit report is a letter from the Division of Pension and Benefits which states that currently it has no recourse to hold accountable the responsible colleges or universities by being able to recover funds, but that it will pursue the ability to recover those costs by offsetting state appropriations.

For the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2010, the state spent $386 million on health benefits for college and university employees, the audit reported.

An additional $2.3 million was spent on authority and commission employees, the audit stated.

There are 12 higher-education institutions and five authorities/commissions for which the state pays the health benefits costs of the employees.

Audit finds benefits coverage for employees no longer working for higher-ed, other entities