Ocean County, N.J., residents who believe that they have received Medicaid benefits improperly will be permitted to voluntarily withdraw from Medicaid without fear of criminal prosecution, under a pilot program announced Thursday by Office of the State Comptroller’s Medicaid Fraud Division, in consultation with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
People participating in the Ocean County Recipient Voluntary Disclosure Program will be required to repay Medicaid for the benefits that they received while they were ineligible, and will have to pay an additional civil penalty, based on the amount of improperly received benefits. They also must voluntarily withdraw from Medicaid for a year.
The program will run from September 12 to December 12.
Participants who satisfy the program’s requirements will not be prosecuted criminally for Medicaid fraud for the period disclosed by participant.
The program is open to Ocean County residents who have not previously entered into any settlement with the state comptroller’s office and who are not currently the subject of any pending state or county criminal matter. In an interview with the Asbury Park Press, Comptroller Phillip James Degnan said that the pilot program may later be expanded statewide.
“Our goal is to bring those in Ocean County who were not in compliance with Medicaid eligibility requirements into compliance and to have them make full restitution of all improperly received funds,” State Comptroller Philip James Degnan said in a statement Thursday. “Residents of Ocean County should consider this Program to be their best opportunity to come into compliance without fear of criminal prosecution.”
Medicaid Fraud Division Director Josh Lichtblau said that “in addition to bringing residents into compliance, this Program is beneficial because it will return Medicaid funds for use by New Jersey residents who truly are in need of assistance.”
On Tuesday night, September 12, at 6:30 p.m., OSC will host a public meeting at which Ocean County residents can learn more about the program. The meeting will be held at the Pine Belt Arena, on the grounds of Toms River North High School, at 1245 Old Freehold Road in Toms River. In consideration of the confidential nature of participation in the program, no cameras or recording devices, including cameras, will be permitted at the meeting.