Archive for Medicaid managed care

 

Hospitals, Others Oppose Easing Medicaid Access Requirements

Hospital groups and other health care interest organizations have expressed strong opposition to a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposal to ease requirements that states ensure adequate access to care for their Medicaid population.

Under current federal Medicaid law, states must periodically review their Medicaid provider networks to ensure that Medicaid recipients have adequate access to care.  Under a March CMS proposal, that requirement would exempt states from performing such reviews if at least 85 percent of their Medicaid population is enrolled in a managed care plan and similarly exempt them from reviewing the impact on their provider networks of rate cuts of less than four percent during a single state fiscal year or six percent over two consecutive years.

Fearing that the proposal could jeopardize access to care for Medicaid recipients, the overwhelming majority of comments submitted to CMS expressed strong opposition to the proposal.  Among those doing so were the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Federation of American Hospitals, the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, the Tennessee Hospital Association, the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and others.

For a closer look at what the regulation proposes and how …

A Look at Medicaid Managed Care

With 74 million people enrolled in Medicaid managed care plans – roughly 71 percent of the U.S. Medicaid population – the Health Affairs Blog has taken a broad look at Medicaid managed care, addressing the question of how it works, whether it’s working, and what its future may be.

The two-part report notes that some Medicaid managed care companies are highly profitable and that this profitability has increased in recent years.  It also notes that the manner in which these companies serve their members varies greatly, that their medical loss ratios vary considerably from state to state, and that the reserves managed care companies hold vary greatly as well.

In addition, the two-part report seeks answers to a number of questions, including:

  • whether state Medicaid administrative costs are reduced by contracting with managed care organizations;
  • how much risk is actually assumed by the managed care organizations;
  • whether Medicaid managed care actually saves money; and
  • how significant cuts in state Medicaid budget might affect the willingness of managed care companies to continue contracting with state agencies.

The Health Affairs Blog report is called “Medicaid Managed Care:  Lots of Unanswered Questions.”  Find part 1 of the report here and part 2 here

MACPAC Meets

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, a non-partisan legislative branch agency that advises Congress, the administration, and the states on Medicaid and CHIP issues, met publicly in Washington, D.C. last week.

The following is MACPAC’s own summary of its two days of meetings.

The April 2018 meeting began with session on social determinants of health. Panelists Jocelyn Guyer of Manatt Health Solutions, Arlene Ash of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Kevin Moore of UnitedHealthcare Community & State discussed state approaches to financing social interventions through Medicaid. In its second morning session, the Commission reviewed a draft chapter of the June 2018 Report to Congress on Medicaid and CHIP on the adequacy of the care delivery system for substance use disorders (SUDs) with a special focus on opioid use disorders.

In the afternoon, the Commission discussed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) March 2018 proposed rule changing the process by which states verify that Medicaid fee-for-service provider payment is sufficient to ensure access to care and agreed to submit comments to the agency. The first day of the meeting concluded with a review of the draft June chapter describing the status of managed long-term services

MACPAC Issues Annual Report, Recommendations to Congress

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission has published its annual report and recommendations to Congress.

MACPAC’s report addresses three primary areas:  Medicaid managed care, telehealth, and Medicaid disproportionate share payments (Medicaid DSH).

With 80 percent of Medicaid beneficiaries now enrolled in managed care plans, MACPAC offers three major recommendations for improving Medicaid managed care efforts:

  • permit states to require all of their Medicaid beneficiaries to enroll in a managed care plan
  • extend Medicaid managed care section 1915(b) waivers from two to five years
  • permit states to obtain waivers to waive freedom of choice and selective contracting restrictions

MACPAC notes the growing use of telehealth by state Medicaid programs and encourages states to continue this expansion while learning more from the efforts of one another to use telehealth effectively.

Finally, MACPAC notes that it

…continues to find little meaningful relationship across the country between DSH allotments and number of uninsured individuals, hospitals’ uncompensated care costs, and the number of hospitals providing essential community services that have high levels of uncompensated care. Total hospital charity care and bad debt continue to fall, especially in states that expanded Medicaid coverage, but Medicaid shortfall showed an uptick as a result of increased

Study Looks at Medicaid and Managed Care

A new Commonwealth Fund study examines how managed care plans have tackled serving new members in Affordable Care Act-authorized Medicaid expansion states.

According to the report, these managed care organizations have

…focused on identifying and helping high-risk populations and addressing the social determinants of health. MCOs are testing value-based payment strategies that link payment with performance and are increasingly focused on engaging patients in their care. Leaders report common challenges: setting appropriate payment rates; managing members whose needs differ from traditional Medicaid beneficiaries; ensuring access to specialty care; and effectively implementing payment reform and practice transformation.

Learn more about how managed care plans have served the Medicaid expansion population in the Commonwealth Fund report “Medicaid Payment and Delivery Reform:  Insights From Managed Care Plan Leaders in Medicaid Expansion States,” which can be found here.…