As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to dominate the news cycle, headlines related to rising unemployment often underscore the impact to Medicaid, suggesting that a “Record number of unemployed Americans will stress state Medicaid programs” (NBC News) and that the new coronavirus will hit Medicaid “like a punch in the mouth” (USA Today), to quote the National Association of Medicaid Directors’ Matt Salo. But what about the Medicaid managed care organizations that will absorb the newly jobless and uninsured?
“I think that Medicaid MCOs are clearly in the best position to handle the influx of folks. They have the systems, they have the infrastructure and they have the experience to do this,” remarks Jerry Vitti, founder and CEO of Healthcare Financial, Inc., which connects low-income elderly and disabled populations with public benefit programs. While onboarding a wave of new members may put some initial stress on plans, the real “strain” will come from covering new members who have unmet health care needs, he suggests.