States’ Moves to Claw Back Funds Raise Medicaid MCOs’ Ire

As state budgets continue to be squeezed by the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic downturn — and as health insurers report large profits due to low utilization of routine health care services — state officials are perhaps understandably eyeing Medicaid managed care organizations as sources of extra funding. But at least one health insurer isn’t happy about a tactic states are using, with CMS’s blessing, to claw back money from MCOs.

The issue in question is the use of risk corridors in MCO contracts, according to Kamran Hashim, vice president of policy and planning at Molina Healthcare, Inc. In a Sept. 16 virtual session during the America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) National Conference on Medicare, Medicaid & Dual Eligibles, Hashim explained that risk corridors typically are used when there isn’t enough data to make an accurate estimate of future medical utilization or costs. To solve that, risk corridors limit an MCO’s medical expenditures to a certain range — so if actual costs come in below that, they return the difference to the state, and if the MCO’s costs are above the cap, the state absorbs the excess.

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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