Lawmakers may lengthen state’s Medicaid contracts

The state inked new Medicaid managed care contracts worth at least $90 billion last year and has completed the transition of tens of thousands of patients into new plans.

But now there’s a move to lengthen the terms of the plans’ contracts from five years to seven.

Or eight.

Florida Medicaid law requires the state to re-procure contracts every five years, so extending the length of the contracts would require legislative approval.

Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Chairman Aaron Bean, a Fernandina Beach Republican, says it can’t be done in the budget “conforming” bill that legislators will ultimately approve this session. He says it would require a stand-alone bill.

Every time the contracts come up for renewal, it is a heavily lobbied and heavily litigated process (in fact, litigation is still pending from the last procurement).

Managed-care plans maintain that extending the contracts beyond five years would improve continuity of care for patients. It also would bring the state more in line with other states that have mandated Medicaid managed care.

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