Dependent health care audits are increasing as a way to keep health care costs down, according to Workforce Management. The magazine cites a survey from Watson Wyatt earlier this year that shows 55 percent of employers plan to conduct such an audit this year, and 74 percent are planning one next year.


Audits find an average of 2 percent to 12 percent of dependents who are ineligible, generally due to negligence rather than fraud, according to the magazine. ERISA's exclusive benefit rule says an employer's health plan must be for the exclusive benefit of the employee or their beneficiaries. Wayne K. Soud Jr., executive vice president with Lockton Cos. says this means employers have a fiduciary resonsibility to remove ineligible dependents from the plan.

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