Drama at the Medicaid Managed Care Council

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Yesterday, the Council passed a resolution to recommend a delay in transitioning HUSKY families into the new HMOs and to freeze enrollment in Charter Oak until July 1st, 2009. The council was concerned that only a handful of providers have signed up with the two new plans, AmeriChoice and Aetna Better Health, and that patients won’t be able to access care. The motion was offered by Rep. Peter Villano and passed unanimously.
Unfortunately, DSS wasn’t there to hear Council members’ concerns. The Commissioner was not able to attend due to a family illness, but other staff were prepared to present and were in the room distributing handouts when they were abruptly called back to 25 Sigourney Street just before the meeting started.
The Council and visitors, including seven legislators, had a lively discussion with the three HMOs, the CT State Medical Society and the CT Hospital Association. Concerns beyond the inadequate provider networks about the program included provider rates and whether they will be made public under Freedom of Information law, inclusion of retail clinics, higher rates paid to some providers, whether the plans were contracting with providers for all three programs (HUSKY Parts A and B with Charter Oak), linkage of HUSKY with Charter Oak and the impact on families, the state’s liability for behavioral health and prescription costs, and why providers are being offered lower rates when the MCOs received a 24% increase in their rates from the state? (We were promised an answer to that question at the next meeting – Sept. 19th at 9:30am).
According to news reports, the Governor has dismissed the Council’s concerns suggesting that the legislators favor universal health care. There was no discussion of universal health care at the meeting. She says the HUSKY transition and launch of Charter Oak will go ahead unchanged.
It’s August; aren’t we supposed to be taking it easy?
Ellen Andrews