News Briefs

✦ Centene Corp. said June 30 that its Illinois subsidiary, Meridian Health Plan of Illinois, Inc., agreed to acquire the membership of Next Level Health Partners, Inc. The deal calls for Meridian to transfer its 54,000 Cook County, Ill., Medicaid members who receive benefits from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ HealthChoice Illinois Program. NextLevel had said in June that it would close following the April collapse of a proposed deal for Molina Healthcare, Inc. to buy the plan for $50 million (RMA 4/16/20, p. 8). Centene said it provided the initial capital that NextLevel needed to obtain its HMO license at the end of 2017 and has provided operational support since then. The deal is expected to close in July 2020. Visit

✦ Recent surveys report conflicting information about Medicare Advantage consumers’ level of satisfaction with how their insurer is communicating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Shortly after a Deft Research study showed that only 24% of MA customers reported that they are aware of their plan’s COVID-19 response (RMA 6/18/20, p. 5), a J.D. Power study posted June 18 gave MA insurers poor marks on communicating with members. Meanwhile, a Morning Consult survey of 1,020 seniors conducted on behalf of the Better Medicare Alliance (BMA) found that 49% of respondents were very satisfied with how their MA plan informed beneficiaries about their response to the coronavirus, 40% were somewhat satisfied and 9% were somewhat unsatisfied. Visit and

© 2024 MMIT
Lauren Flynn Kelly

Lauren Flynn Kelly Managing Editor, Radar on Medicare Advantage

Lauren has been covering health business issues since the early 2000s and specializes in in-depth reporting on Medicare Advantage, managed Medicaid and Medicare Part D. She also possesses a deep understanding of the complex world of pharmacy benefit management, having written AIS Health’s Radar on Drug Benefits from 2004 to 2005 and again from 2011 to 2016. In addition to her role as managing editor of Radar on Medicare Advantage, she oversees AIS Health’s publications and manages the health editorial staff. She graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in English.

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