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The Case of One County’s Painful HR and Healthcare Benefits Fail

Posted on: July 10th, 2014 | Category: Employee Relations, Government Regulatory & Compliance Issues, Human Resources, Our Blog

shocked-smileyIn this post, we bring you a cautionary tale of County HR Director who caused a healthcare firestorm at work and got suspended over an embarrassing healthcare coverage debacle. How big of a debacle, you ask? Big enough to encapsulate almost $400,000 of wasted taxpayer dollars.

Yep. That big.

Although a grand jury investigation that looked into allegations of healthcare fraud in the Bucks County government found no evidence of any criminal activity, it still came down hard on the county’s human resources department for being egregiously inefficient and for failing to remove people who weren’t entitled to benefits as the policies changed. The report said the county wasted just shy of $400,000 on added premiums for nearly 200 people who weren’t entitled to benefits. Embarrassingly enough, the HR department assigned to keeping employees compliant to policies and up-to-date on benefits was neither following the policies nor up-to-date on the organization’s benefits program.

The suspension handed down looks like it might end up being permanent, too. According to CBS Philly‘s website:

The move comes on the heels of the report which blamed incompetence and sloppiness in the department as the reason why the county was still paying for health insurance premiums for employees’ dependents who should have been taken off the rolls.

“We’re looking at everybody there and saying, what did we do wrong?,  what can we do better?, how do we communicate better?, how are we all on the same page knowing that we are following the same procedures and policies?’  ” said county commissioner Rob Loughery today.

He expects more personnel moves will be made but would not elaborate.

The county is currently talking to other companies with similar employment numbers to see if they should keep human resources in house or use a firm on the outside, according to the article. The fiasco has demonstrated that not paying attention to human resources processes can be costly, and they have found out the hard way. Keep your HR staff up-to-date and/or consider outsourcing processes to keep your organization running smoothly, economically and efficiently.

Worried about HR matters facing your company?

Beyond healthcare policy compliance, today’s managers have to be cautious to avoid violating laws and regulations of all different stripes, and they have to stay on top of company policy changes and needs as well. Our team of HR experts assists clients with these tricky issues every day. Email us, or call us at 610-443-0119 to discuss how myHR Partner’s myHR DirectLink Services can help your business.

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