Federal officials say the State of Iowa isn’t ready to move the 560,000 Iowans who’re on Medicaid into managed care networks on January 1, 2016. Senator Amanda Ragan, a Democrat from Mason City, has been raising concerns about the move and she’s praising the 60-day delay federal officials are now requiring.
“We thought the roll-out was too fast, too much,” Ragan told Radio Iowa. “This is just telling the state that it really was too fast and too much.”
Ragan said it’s a relief to Iowans who haven’t been able to figure out if their doctor, hospital or caregiver was part of one of the new networks.
“This is really a victory for the recipients and providers,” Ragan said.
Officials in the U.S. Department of Human Services sent Governor Bransad a letter Thursday, indicating they’ll ultimately approve the move, but they will require a 60-day delay to respond to concerns about the speed of the switch.
“What we’re hearing from the feds is that they, when they came out here, saw that the systems were not in place, they were not ready for this,” Ragan said. “And so we’re really thrilled to have some time to work with the governor on this.”
Ragan said the checklist of concerns supplied by officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is long, but will ensure the most vulnerable Iowans are well-served by the private companies that will start managing their health care coverage. Federal officials say the governor’s January 1 target date would have caused “serious disruptions” for Iowa Medicaid beneficiaries.
Governor Branstad is stressing that his administration now has a “green light” to implement the switch on March 1st. Branstad says he’s confident switching to private management of the state’s Medicaid program will help improve “patient outcomes” and save the state money.