May 29, 2014
Medicaid Overhaul Message Trickles Outby Mary Shedden
Adriana DeJesus doesn't remember getting a letter.
Her kids - 6-year-old Angel, and son, Christian – have been covered by Medicaid plans since birth. Her son’s asthma and ADHD keep her regularly connected to his doctors and make her diligent about understanding his health coverage.
But the St.Petersburg daycare worker says she missed seeing a notice that Florida is moving 3.5 million residents in its medical insurance program for the poor to a new managed care system.
She stumbled onto the news only after she looked for a dentist for a daughter, and a counselor filled her in on the changes.
“I didn’t even know,” she said.
She’s not alone. For months, the Agency for Health Care Administration has been asking 1.5 million Floridians with fee-for-service Medicaid medical coverage to pick a plan from thirteen pre-approved insurers.
Sunshine Health, like others involved in the managed care transition, are not new to Medicaid, Senior said. But in order to attract more business, the new managed care plans offer more options for treatment and a longer list of health providers accepting patients with Medicaid coverage.
The list of added benefits includes options never available before in Florida’s Medicaid system. Certain vaccines, adult dental, hearing and vision, newborn circumcisions and nutrition counseling are among the benefits offered. Paterson said the extras can attract business, but more importantly, they promote better health.
[Florida Medicaid funded infant male genital cutting until July 1, 2003. A cohort of healthy 11-year-olds is ready to be testimony that cutting the taxpayer funding did no harm.]
“Many of us felt like we needed to add this extra enhancement to the program to be competitive,” he said. “And it is true though that some of these benefits that we are offering could lead to reduction (in illness), because they are more preventative in nature.”