Iowa’s Medicaid Program Moves to Managed Care for Its Services
After more than a year of debate, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved the state of Iowa’s plan to transition all of its Medicaid-funded services, including supported employment, to managed care, effective April 1, 2016. The new program will be called IA Health Link. Medicaid managed care generally refers to a method of administering a state’s Medicaid program by which the state contracts with health care providers and medical facilities to provide care for Medicaid beneficiaries at a reduced cost to the state and with a goal of improved quality of care. Service are often coordinated through Managed Care Organizations (MCOs).
Iowa had first proposed transitioning the state’s 560,000 Medicaid clients to managed care in early 2015, with a goal of finalizing the transition by January 2016. The transition was delayed until April 2016 by CMS to ensure that Iowa had enough provider networks to facilitate the large scale change. Iowa’s Medicaid Director noted that the state has had time to improve its network greatly during the delay, with more than 96 percent of all state Medicaid providers signed on with at least one of the MCOs.