Gambrills woman gets second check for penny from U.S.

September 28, 1993|By Donna Weaver | Donna Weaver,Contributing Writer

The Gambrills woman who was angry about getting a federal check for one penny last week now has her two cents worth.

Nancy Costanzo opened her mailbox yesterday to discover another 1-cent check from CHAMPUS, a federal agency that oversees medical coverage for military people and their families. The check reimbursed her for overpayment on a prescription for foot medicine.

The new check is sitting next to the first one, and Mrs. Costanzo is expecting a third.

She said she purchased three prescriptions on the same day and was overcharged by a penny on each one.

"What doesn't make any sense is that all three prescriptions were filed on one claim," says a puzzled Mrs. Costanzo. "If 1,000 pTC of these checks are sent for a total of $10, it's probably costing us taxpayers $50,000. That's sad. That's annoying. That's two people's yearly salary being wasted."

A spokeswoman for CHAMPUS said last week that the agency has no means to delay payment until a bigger amount is accumulated.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who was contacted by Mrs. Costanzo, wants some answers, too. She's writing a letter to the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, asking for some justification for the penny checks, says Bill Toohey, Senator Mikulski's press secretary.

And Mrs. Costanzo says, "I'm going to keep these checks and deduct them from my federal income tax for fraud and abuse."

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