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States Push for Managed Long-Term Care for Elderly & Disabled Medicaid Patients

It’s no secret that state (and federal) budgets are severely stressed. While lawmakers look for revenue and cost-cutting measures, Medicaid services are coming under scrutiny. Managed care plans are becoming increasingly popular as one way to cut Medicaid costs. Currently six states require the elderly and disabled who need long-term care to enroll in a managed care plan. At least 10 other states are reportedly considering the same, according to a recent article from The Kaiser Health News.

Traditionally, states pay Medicaid providers directly for individual services. Under managed care, states pay health insurers a fixed monthly fee for each Medicaid patient. The lump sum is used for all the patient’s costs, including physician and nursing home care. Managed care companies say they can help states save money by keeping Medicaid patients who need long-term care at home whenever possible. Tennessee pays its Medicaid health plans an average of $4,400 per member per month.

AARP and some other advocates caution that managed care plans could make it harder for patients to get the services they need. The nursing home industry, which currently gets about two-thirds of its revenues from Medicaid, is complaining as well.

But state officials around the country say they have little choice but to make more aggressive use of managed care, especially for long-term care patients who account for more than two-thirds of all Medicaid spending.

You can learn more about Medicare, Medicaid and long-term care in the Medicaid and Nursing Home Planning page on our website. To help you navigate the confusing world of Medicaid applications, check out our  Medicaid Guide.  For over two decades we have been helping our clients avoid costly Medicaid Mistakes.