Iowa Medicaid payers report more than $100M in losses in 2016

Three insurers managing Iowa's $5 billion Medicaid program posted more than $100 million in losses in 2016, the first year private insurers took over the program, according to The Gazette.

Iowa handed over management of its Medicaid program to Des Moines-based AmeriHealth Caritas Iowa, Clive-based Amerigroup Iowa and Kingston, N.Y.-based UnitedHealthcare of the River Valley in April 2016.

Here are five things to know about the losses.

1. Reports submitted to the Iowa Insurance Division show AmeriHealth Caritas saw almost $300 million in losses last year. Amerigroup recorded losses totaling more than $133 million in the same period, according to the report.

2. UnitedHealthcare of the River Valley told legislators in February it expects to shoulder more than $100 million in losses from its 2016 operations. The insurer is not required to submit a separate Medicaid business report, as it operates several business lines in Iowa, the report states.  

3. To rein in costs, AmeriHealth has shifted some of its case-management services from external to internal operations. It also decreased payments to home- and community-based providers.

4. Iowa Department of Human Services spokesperson Amy McCoy told The Gazette some of the losses were associated with expected start-up costs. She also said the state's Medicaid rates are actuarially sound.  

5. AmeriHealth, Amerigroup and UnitedHealthcare of the River Valley will begin negotiating capitation rates with state officials regarding in April. The rates will be effective July 1. 

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