State picks managed-care outfits for expanded Medicaid

The state awarded contracts Friday to Humana Inc., Passport Health Plan and Wellpoint subsidiary Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield to manage the health care of Kentuckians who will become eligible for Medicaid when the state expands the program under federal health reform Jan. 1.

The newly eligible, in households with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line, can start signing up for coverage Oct. 1 through Kynect, the state health benefits exchange that will offer regular insurance policies and federal subsides for those up to 400 percent of the poverty line.

The contracts cover 104 counties. The other 16, in the Louisville region, are already covered by contracts signed last year with Humana, Passport, Coventry Cares and Wellcare of Kentucky for current Medicaid patients in all counties. They will be expanded to cover the newly eligible on Jan. 1.

An estimated 308,000 Kentuckians will become eligible for Medicaid under the federal health-care reform law. The state does not expect all of them to sign up for coverage. Under the reform law, the federal government will pay the extra cost for the first three years, then the state will start picking up part of the cost, topping out at 10 percent in 2020. Currently, federal funds cover about 72 percent of Kentucky Medicaid costs.

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