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UnityPoint and Amerigroup reach deal on contract

Agreement announced hours before deadline means Amerigroup's Iowa Medicaid patients can stay with UnityPoint providers

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)

UnityPoint and Amerigroup Iowa announced Friday night — hours before a deadline already extended once — they had reached agreement on a 2018 contract for Medicaid patients.

The deal will mean UnityPoint patients can continue to get care within the network that includes St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids while being insured by Amerigroup, one of two remaining managed-care organizations serving Iowa Medicaid patients.

“A resolution to our Medicaid managed care agreement with Amerigroup allows our patients to continue to receive care from their trusted UnityPoint Health providers and facilities,” Sabra Rosener, vice president of government and external affairs for UnityPoint Health, said in a prepared statement released at 8:30 p.m. Friday. “UnityPoint Health remains committed to serving Medicaid members and improving the experience, quality and cost of care for Iowans and looks forward to continuing our partnership with Amerigroup.”

UnityPoint announced in November it had notified 54,000 patients that the network’s contract with Amerigroup could end Dec. 31. After failing to reach a deal on a 2018 contract by Dec. 31, the organizations agreed to an extension of the contract deadline so negotiations could continue through Friday.

If they hadn’t hammered out a deal, UnityPoint providers and facilities would not have been able to provide services to Amerigroup members beginning April 1. An exception for emergency care is required by law. In the case of a break, patients would have been required to change their insurer or keep Amerigroup and transfer to a new provider.

Terms of the new contract were not made public Friday. UnityPoint Health will continue to be in-network for Iowa’s other private insurer, UnitedHealthcare.

UnityPoint Health and Amerigroup said each will provide additional communication to identified Amerigroup patients to help make them aware of the update.

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“Our continued partnership with UnityPoint Health demonstrates our efforts to ensure that the members we serve in each of Iowa’s 99 counties have broad access to high quality health care services,” Cynthia MacDonald, president of Amerigroup Iowa, said in a prepared statement.

For more information, Amerigroup members may visit the UnityPoint Health website at www.unitypoint.org/IowaMedicaid, call Amerigroup Iowa member services at (800) 600-4441 or contact Iowa Medicaid Member Services Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at (800) 338-8366 or visit http://dhs.iowa.gov/iahealthlink.

l Comments: (319) 339-3157; erin.jordan@thegazette.com

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