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Medicaid managed care plans owned by public companies have higher administrative costs
Date:6/15/2011

New York, NY, June 15, 2011A new Commonwealth Fund report finds that Medicaid managed care plans that are owned by publicly traded for-profit companies whose primary line of business is managing Medicaid enrollees spent an average of 14 percent of premiums on administrative costs, compared with an average of only 10 percent spent by non-publicly traded plans owned by groups of health care providers, health systems, community health centers, or clinics. Sampling health plans with at least 5,000 enrollees resulted in an initial sample of 225 Medicaid managed care plans representing 23.8 million enrollees. The numbers of plans reporting quality of care measures was limited and varied by measure. Only 27 percent of the publicly traded Medicaid-only plans reported quality measures and scored lower on these measures compared to non-publicly traded plans; they scored 13 percentage points lower when it came to managing chronic illness, and 11 percentage points lower on a composite score measuring preventive care.

"Managed care plans represent a large piece of Medicaid's future, and plans owned by publicly traded companies will likely be a growing share of this market," said lead author Michael McCue, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. "In order to assure that Medicaid provides high quality, efficient health care, it will be crucial that state Medicaid directors responsible for managed care contracts take into account publicly traded plans' commitment to Medicaid and whether they are striking the right balance between providing high quality care to patients and increasing earnings."

According to the report, Assessing the Financial Health of Medicaid Managed Care Plans and the Quality of Patient Care They Provide, enrollment in Medicaid managed care is on the rise, and the authors anticipate that rise will continue as most people newly eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act will likely join managed care plans. In 2009, CMS
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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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