Medicaid MCOs Brace for COVID-Related Enrollment Surge

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.

© 2021 MMIT

Lauren Flynn Kelly Managing Editor, Radar on Medicare Advantage

Lauren has been covering health business issues, including drug benefits and specialty pharmacy, for more than a decade. She served as editor of Drug Benefit News (the predecessor to Radar on Drug Benefits) from 2004 to 2005 and again from 2011 to 2016, and now manages Radar on Medicare Advantage. Lauren graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in English.

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