KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Bachmann Calls For Federal Audit Of Minnesota Medicaid Program

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is asking for a federal audit of her state's Medicaid program after a congressional probe found a year's worth of alleged overpayments. In other news, insurers Molina and Centene have won back Medicaid contracts in Ohio after initially being rejected. 

MinnPost:  Bachmann Calls For Audit Of Minnesota's Medicaid Program
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann has called for a federal audit of Minnesota's Medicaid management program. Bachmann sent a letter to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Thursday asking for an independent third-party audit of Minnesota's Medicaid billing practices in light of a congressional investigation into a year’s worth of alleged overpayments to the state's managed care organizations (Henry, 6/7).

Minnesota Public Radio: Bachmann Wants Independent Audit Of State’s Medicaid Program
Michele Bachmann is stepping up her campaign for federal officials to take a deeper look at how Minnesota's Medicaid managed care plans operate. Later today, the Minnesota Republican congresswoman will send a letter to Marilyn Tavenner, the head of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, asking that the federal government conduct an independent, third-party audit of Minnesota's management of the federal-state health care program for the poor. Bachmann's request comes after a House hearing in April that paid particular attention to Minnesota's contracts with nonprofit managed care organizations and UCare's $30 million payment to the state in 2011 (Neely, 6/7).

(St. Paul) Pioneer Press: Minnesota: Bachmann Calls For Audit Of State Medicaid
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is calling for a federal agency to audit Minnesota's Medicaid program. In comments before a House of Representatives subcommittee on Thursday, June 7, Bachmann said she was sending a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services calling for "an immediate, independent third-party audit of Minnesota's books." "This situation needs immediate attention," Bachmann told the Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee, which was taking testimony on fraud in the federal Medicare and Medicaid health insurance programs (Snowbeck, 6/7). 

In other news, Molina and Centene have won back the right to do Medicaid business in Ohio after initially being rejected for renewal. Medicaid managed care makes news in Texas and Florida also --

The Wall Street Journal: Molina, Centene Win Back Ohio Medicaid Business
Medicaid health insurers Molina Healthcare Inc. and Centene Corp. won back business in Ohio after protesting their prior rejection for new contracts starting next year. The state, which had initially named Aetna Inc. a winner, dropped that insurer from its list of five Medicaid health plans that will serve starting Jan. 1. Meridian Health Plan, a nonprofit, was also dropped after initially being named a winner (Kamp, 6/7).

The Columbus Dispatch:  State Revises Which Health Plans Will Manage Medicaid Program Following Protests
Two months after shaking up which health plans get billions to manage Ohio’s Medicaid program, state officials are mixing it up again.  Two of the five companies awarded preliminary contracts -- Aetna Better Health of Ohio and Meridian -- were notified today that they have lost contracts for the work following a review of their bids by the state Department of Job and Family Services (Candisky, 6/7).

Market Watch: Molina Shares Plunge On High Costs In Texas Market
Shares of Molina Healthcare Inc. plunged Thursday after the Medicaid health insurer shelved its full-year earnings guidance due to Texas-size cost problems in the state's newly expanded Medicaid market. Fellow Medicaid insurers Centene Corp. and Amerigroup Corp., which joined Molina in recently winning new business in Texas, also came under pressure on worries about their potential exposure. The problem with unexpectedly high costs highlights a risk these companies face, even as they benefit from states turning to managed-care firms to handle the government health program for the poor (Kamp, 6/7).

Health News Florida: Medicaid Plan Wins $36M Contract
Medicaid patients and their doctors in 31 rural counties will soon get their first taste of real managed care -- the kind that requires permission to spend. The state has chosen the company that will be making the decisions:  Better Health, a Coral Gables-based firm that sponsors a provider-service network in Broward County.  It has signed a $36-million contract with the Agency for Health Care Administration. Better Health's task is to transform the Medicaid program known as MediPass into a standard managed-care program that requires "prior authorization" – permission -- for hospital stays and many other services (Jordan Sexton, 6/7).

And Arizona taxpayers could be paying millions for the care of patients who don't qualify for the Medicaid program --

Arizona Republic: AHCCCS Errors Could Be Costing Millions, Audit Shows
A new audit shows taxpayers could be losing up to $57 million a year paying for patients who should not have qualified for the state's indigent health-care program. Auditor General Debbie Davenport estimated that nearly 6 percent of applications for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System contained processing errors, such as understating income, and 1 percent were "at risk for being incorrect" (Reinhart, 6/7).

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