Health

Medicaid town hall set for Cedar Rapids Friday

Members, providers to discuss options after UnitedHealthcare's exit

New Iowa Medicaid director Michael Randol during an interview in the Hoover Office Building in Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday, Jan. 8, 2018.(Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
New Iowa Medicaid director Michael Randol during an interview in the Hoover Office Building in Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday, Jan. 8, 2018.(Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Iowa Medicaid Enterprises says it will host a series of town halls May 6- May 16 for health care providers and Medicaid members to discuss UnitedHealthcare’s plan to exit the state program in less than two months.

“This is an important opportunity to make sure our members know that, regardless of which (managed-care organization) they’re assigned to, the same Medicaid benefits are covered,” Iowa Medicaid Enterprises Director Michael Randol said in an emailed statement.

“No one is losing benefits. Members may exercise choice, or they may do nothing. We also want to let people know we’re taking extra measures to ensure continuity of care.”

The public meetings kick off in Des Moines on Wednesday, with two separate events allocated for Medicaid members and the providers who offer them care.

Cedar Rapids’ town hall is set for Friday at Kirkwood Community College’s main campus, 6301 Kirkwood Blvd. SW. It will start with an event for providers at 4 p.m.

A town hall for members will start at 5:15 p.m.

A full list of meetings and their locations can be found on the DHS website, https://bit.ly/2J3q24e.

UnitedHealthcare is set to leave Iowa’s Medicaid program July 1 — the same day another managed-care organization, Iowa Total Care, will join the program.

Amerigroup Iowa will continue to provide coverage for Medicaid members.

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The Edina, Minn.-based insurer UnitedHealthcare cited chronic underfunding when it announced in March that it planned to exit the Medicaid program.

State officials, however, have stated the managed-care organization did not want to be held to certain standards and requested financial penalties for not meeting performance criteria be waived.

All Medicaid members have until June 18 to make a choice for coverage effective July 1. But members still will be able to change their managed-care organization for any reason until Sept. 30.

As members shift from UnitedHealthcare, officials announced that all prior authorizations given by the former managed-care organization for specific services will be honored for 90 days. If UnitedHealthcare did not require a prior authorization, the other managed-care organizations will not need them for 90 days.

A home- and community-based services members’ service plan also will be honored as they switch managed-care organizations, until a new assessment is complete.

The Iowa Medicaid member services call center will have a list of the managed-care organization’s care managers in the coming weeks, to “maintain member’s relationships with their case managers,” according to a news release Monday.

More information on provider training from Iowa Medicaid can be found on the DHS website.

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

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