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Officials: Iowa's new health-care system is working well

Business

By Glenn Minnis | Nov 23, 2019

Hospital

The state of Iowa’s new managed care organization is off to a smooth start, with Department of Human Services’ officials using their recent experiences to the benefit of the Iowa Total Care Program.

“Overall, I think it’s gone well,” Iowa Medicaid Enterprises Director Michael Randol recently told an audience at The Gazette’s Iowa Ideas symposium in downtown Cedar Rapids of the state’s second such major change in just the last three years.

In 2016, state officials changed to a privately managed system. In addition, United Healthcare has announced it plans to soon abandon the state program.

A subsidiary of Centene, Iowa Total Care joined Amerigroup Iowa in July. It was touted as a private insurance company focused on providing coverage for the state’s Medicaid members through a contract with the state.

According to the Sioux City Journal, the state’s roughly $5 billion program now provides health coverage for more than 625,000 poor and disabled Iowans. Earlier this month, The Journal reported that longtime holdover managed care organization Amerigroup now has 351,392 members, while Iowa Total Care has already secured 239,951.

Meanwhile, UnitedHealthcare was the second managed care organization to flee the state in just the last three years, with AmeriHealth Caritas bolting in 2017.

Still, Randol said, “the state continues to save money with managed care” versus the old state-run, fee-for-service model.

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