Long-Term Care Medicaid Patients Start Enrolling

Phone counselors are now available to help long-term care Medicaid recipients choose their health plans. State officials say the call centers went live Monday. Long-term care Medicaid recipients can call the hotline and ask questions about what doctors and medications are covered in different plans.

Florida obtained tentative permission from the federal government earlier this year to move 3 million Medicaid patients into managed care programs.  Lawmakers decided in 2011 to transform Medicaid into a managed-care system to save money and Florida will begin the transition with long-term care patients. They argued managed care enables seniors to stay in their homes longer and that home-based services are generally less expensive than nursing home stays.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services agreed in principle to the plan in Feb., giving the go ahead for the long-term component of the plan while waiting for more data before signing off on the entire plan.

The transition starts in Orange, Brevard, Osceola and Seminole counties. About 85,000 seniors requiring long-term care will begin receiving managed-care services August 1. They have until July 18 to decide on a health plan.

The seven companies awarded contracts are American Eldercare, Amerigroup Florida, Coventry Health Care of Florida, Humana Medical Plan, Molina Healthcare of Florida, Sunshine Health and United HealthCare of Florida.

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