Amerigroup to accept new Medicaid members

Those under state system will be moved March 1

Enrollment information for managed-care organizations, including Amerigroup, in Iowa’s Medicaid privatization plan, photographed in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Dec. 18, 2015. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Enrollment information for managed-care organizations, including Amerigroup, in Iowa’s Medicaid privatization plan, photographed in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Dec. 18, 2015. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Amerigroup Iowa announced Friday it would resume capacity to begin accepting some 10,000 Medicaid members who had been moved to the state’s system, ending the suspension of choice for Iowa recipients.

The managed-care organization notified the Iowa Department of Human Services that the 10,000 Medicaid enrollees who previously had been shifted from managed care to a state-run system will be moved back to privatized Medicaid coverage beginning March 1, according to Medicaid e-News, a statement issued by the Iowa Medicaid Enterprise late Friday.

Any Medicaid member will be able chose Amerigroup as a provider beginning May 1, according to the statement.

Amerigroup currently has 186,000 Iowa enrollees.

This move comes months after Amerigroup officials stated the private company did not have capacity to take on new members, despite the fact that 10,000 Iowans had chosen the insurer to administer the coverage.

Amerigroup’s notice was made the same month AmeriHealth Caritas announced it was exiting the state’s market. AmeriHealth, with 213,000 enrollees, had the largest concentration of the state’s most complex cases.

This left UnitedHealthcare of the River Valley as the only insurer choice for Medicaid members.

Federal law dictates is necessary for those under Medicaid to have a choice. However, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services stated federal approval was not necessary for a temporary wave of choice.

That’s when the 10,121 Iowans, who had chosen Amerigroup as their provider after AmeriHealth left the state, were moved to the state’s fee-for-service system.

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The Department of Human Services is undergoing a search for a third managed-care organization to come onto the state’s system beginning July 1, 2019. Two companies had announced their intent to bid as of Thursday — Iowa Total Care, a subsidiary of Centene, and the Washington, D.C.-based Trusted Health Plan.

l Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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