Kentucky to go live with managed care on Nov. 1, governor says

10/27/2011 05:26 PM

The state government will flip the switch on Nov. 1 to turn over Medicaid coverage of the poor and disabled to managed care companies, Gov. Steve Beshear said on Pure Politics.

The state has engaged in contracts with three companies to provide the health care services for Medicaid recipients. Currently, more than 800,000 Kentuckians rely on Medicaid to cover the cost of their medical care.

The federal government’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has given the green light on the managed care contracts, Beshear said.

“Our contracts will be approved by CMS in Washington,” Beshear said. “You’ve got to have everybody signed up in these companies, and we’re at that point. We’ve got everybody we need to be able to cover every area. If there are a few holdouts out there, they’re going to have to sign up or they’re not going to get and Medicaid dollars.”

The governor promised lawmakers last spring that going the managed care route would save the state $375 million over three years in state funds — and $1.3 billion in total money when federal Medicaid dollars are factored in.

He said he still expects those savings. “We’re very confident,” he said.

In August, state health cabinet officials said only about 20 percent of the hospitals in the state had signed up with the manged care companies. Those are hospitals outside of Louisville and its surrounding 15 counties that are already served by the managed care Passport Program.

Jill Midkiff, spokesman for the cabinet, said Thursday that 57 of the 104 licensed hospitals outside of the Louisville metro area have signed up with the managed care providers as of the end of last week.

“A significant number of hospitals have signed in the last couple of weeks and we anticipate that these numbers will continue to grow,” Midkiff said.

Republican state Senate President David Williams, however, said the process to get the managed care contracts approved has been rushed and clumsy.

Williams, who is Beshear’s GOP opponent in the Nov. 8 governor’s race, noted that the cabinet had to initially delay its request for proposals from companies this summer, then pushed back the date to launch the contracts from Oct. 1 to next week.

But House Speaker Greg Stumbo said even if some hospitals are holding out — and doing so for negotiating purposes — they will eventually come on board and the savings to the state would materialize.

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