KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Ind. Bid For Medicaid Waiver Extension Denied; Managed Care Contracts Make News

In Indiana, officials are denied an extension on a Bush-era Medicaid waiver just as New Mexico seeks to revise its Medicaid overhaul plan.

CQ HealthBeat: CMS Tries To Let Indiana Down Gently On Bush-Era Coverage Expansion
Indiana officials are expressing disappointment with the Obama administration's handling of a Bush-era Medicaid expansion plan that covers thousands of previously uninsured residents in the state while charging them premiums in an effort to promote personal responsibility. A July 31 letter from Cindy Mann, the director for the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, denies the state's request for a multi-year extension of the plan, which in technical jargon is known as a Medicaid waiver and was approved by the George W. Bush administration in 2007 (Reichard, 8/17).

The Associated Press: New Mexico Revises Medicaid Overhaul Plan
Gov. Susana Martinez's administration asked the federal government on Friday to approve a revised plan to overhaul a program providing health care for a fourth of New Mexico's population. The Human Services Department's latest Medicaid proposal comes nearly six months after the administration initially unveiled a blueprint to improve health care for needy New Mexicans while slowing the growth rate of a program costing nearly $4 billion a year. About a fourth of the money comes from the state budget, with the federal government paying the remainder (Massey, 8/17).

Managed care contracts are also making news in West Virginia, Kansas and Wisconsin --

The Associated Press: W.Va. Health Services Contracts Spur Questions
West Virginia lawmakers say last week's interim study meetings raised several red flags about multimillion-dollar contracts awarded through the Department of Health and Human Resources. A House-Senate oversight committee learned that the department has spent millions on a nonprofit firm, the Delmarva Foundation, to monitor the performance of three companies that help provide Medicaid services. Those three companies also have received multimillion-dollar contracts (Messina, 8/19).

Kansas Health Institute News: KanCare MCOs To Take On Case-Management Role
State officials are encouraging people currently employed as case managers for physically disabled and elderly Medicaid enrollees to apply for similar jobs with the three insurance companies chosen to implement KanCare, Gov. Sam Brownback's Medicaid makeover plan. The insurance companies are expected to take over Medicaid services on Jan. 1, pending federal approval of the governor's plan. Earlier this week, officials at the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services sent a memo to managers of local agencies that provide Medicaid case management services, urging them to have their workers apply for jobs with the KanCare managed care companies (Ranney, 8/17).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: UnitedHealthcare Ends BadgerCare Plus Contract With State
After seeing the state cut payment rates in 2011 and then again this year, UnitedHealthcare has opted to end its contract with the state to oversee care for 174,000 people insured through the BadgerCare Plus program in southeastern Wisconsin. UnitedHealthcare will end its contract on Oct. 31. The health insurer is the largest of the four managed care organizations that won contracts in 2010 from the Department of Health Services for six counties in southeastern Wisconsin (Boulton, 8/19).

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