Moving forward on a plan that would privatize care for Medicaid recipients, Florida has awarded contracts to insurers to provide managed care for the state's low-income residents.
The contract winners include Staywell Health Plan, a subsidiary of WellCare Health Plans, and Centene Corp.'s Sunshine State Health Plan. They have been awarded contracts to provide managed-care services as part of the state's Managed Medical Assistance program.
Under the agreement, Staywell would provide services in seven of the state's 11 regions while Sunshine would serve nine regions. Sunshine currently provides managed-care services under the Long Term Care portion of Florida's Statewide Medicaid Managed Care program, serving 10 regions.
“We are pleased to have received the state's notification of intent to award Sunshine Health 9 out of 11 regions,” said Robert Hitchcock, Centene executive vice president for health plans. “This intended award demonstrates Sunshine Health's proven record of providing access to high-quality, comprehensive healthcare at lower costs to the state.”
Enrollment is expected to begin next spring and is scheduled to be completed by October 2014. According to the state's Agency for Health Care Administration, 10 insurers have been selected to provide general managed care throughout the state, while five companies have been awarded contracts to provide specialized plans, including ones focused on HIV/AIDS, child welfare and foster care, severe mental illness, and adults with chronic medical conditions.
ACHA Secretary Liz Dudek said her agency “has confidence these plans will be able to provide high quality care through robust networks, a variety of extra benefits, and increased flexibility in meeting the unique healthcare needs of each recipient they serve.”
Florida has been at the center of political wrangling that has continued over the implementation of the Patient Protection an Affordable Care Act.
The Republican-controlled state legislature rejected federal funding to expand its Medicaid program to adults earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level, despite calls from Republican Gov. Rick Scott to approve the expansion. The legislature also rejected proposals to establish a state-run health insurances exchange, prompting HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to visit the state several times in recent months to oversee the implementation of Florida's federally run exchange.
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