Private info of thousands of children compromised in Medicaid sn - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Private info of thousands of children compromised in Medicaid snafu

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Tens of thousands of North Carolina Medicaid Cards - meant for children in our state - sent to the wrong addresses. There's a real danger the private information of many kids could end up in the wrong hands.

The cards were mailed out Thursday. That's when Amy Penninger, a mom of two from Cabarrus County, received new medicaid cards for her two boys but immediately realized something was very wrong.

"It's disturbing," she said. "I was very shocked. I couldn't understand why another child's name was attached to my name on one of the medicaid cards."

Penninger showed us the cards and it's clear she's received the personal information for a child that's not hers and has never even heard of. In fact, the child on the card lives in Rutherford county.

That child and one of Penninger's son are just two of the 48 thousand children on Medicaid in North Carolina affected. State officials say they know exactly which Medicaid cards were sent to which addresses, and they are working to issue correct Medicaid cards.

But that's not good enough for Penninger who said, "I don't understand how the state could make a mistake on so many children. This is my child's personal information and my personal information out there in the hands of someone and I've got someone else's information. Why aren't y'all being more diligent?"

A lack of diligence, she worries could cost her son big time.

"It is very easy these days for identity theft and things like that," said Penninger. "And children are not exempt from that in my opinion, I wouldn't think they would be."

According to Sandra Terrell, the acting Medicaid Director, 70,253 children were switched from NC Health Choice to Medicaid at the beginning of the year due to new eligibility rules. As part of the process, they were to receive new Medicaid cards.  However, the state mailed 48,752 of those cards to the wrong people. The state release says the information released includes the child's name, Medicaid identification number, date of birth and primary care physician.

The state says Medicaid benefits are not affected and they are working to get the cards out to the correct addresses. If you have a question about this issue, you can call the DHHS Customer Service Center Number on the back of the card.  That number is 1-800-662-7030. A reporter called the customer care number and the service closed for the week at 5 p.m. Friday, which is twenty minutes after the state sent out its news alert.

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