Senate Medicaid committee holds hearing on managed-care proposal

Published: Feb. 17, 2022 at 6:58 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi’s Division of Medicaid could be forced into some changes on who it contracts with if a bill passes at the State Capitol.

It was a standing room only Senate Medicaid hearing Thursday morning. At the center of the discussion is House Bill 658. More specifically, the amended version that has already passed the House.

“I am doing away with doing business with a company who took $55 million, or our money that was supposed to be spent on the poor, the sick, the elderly, the mentally ill, the disabled,” said Rep. Becky Currie on the House floor.

Rep. Becky Currie’s amendment doesn’t mention any companies by name, but.

“Centene needs to get out of the picture,” she said Thursday.

The bill does prohibit Medicaid from contracting with any company that has paid over $50 million in a settlement agreement with the state.

Centene settled a suit last year regarding overcharging for pharmacy benefits and paid the state $55.5 million but did not admit fault. Medicaid Executive Director says taking Centene out of the equation would present a logistics problem.

“If passed, the amendment would subject 162,328 Medicaid beneficiaries to a hurried reassignment process that would disrupt care services,” said Drew Snyder, Mississippi Division of Medicaid Executive Director.

There’s a second part of the amended bill would direct Medicaid to select a Mississippi-based non-profit to provide Medicaid services in addition to the managed care companies they also contract with.

“The non-profit that I’m talking about... we have one in Mississippi run by the hospitals, noted Currie. “So, they will have a vested interest in making sure that patients are taken care of and providers are paid.”

Magnolia Health Plan is a subsidiary of Centene and released a statement:

“The amendment to this bill, which was pushed through without debate, was introduced based on a false premise about a legal settlement with the state,” said Magnolia Plan CEO Aaron Sisk. “If passed, it will cancel all existing Medicaid contracts, move Medicaid services to an untested and unvetted managed care provide and leave hundreds of thousands of Medicaid patients to navigate transferring their healthcare needs to a new vendor.”

The Senate committee heard from the director but has not yet taken the bill up for a vote.

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