Humana to Buy Key Player in Florida’s Medicaid Program

TALLAHASSEE — As the state prepares to move forward next month with shifting thousands of elderly Floridians into Medicaid managed-care plans, Humana Inc. is buying a major player in the program.

Humana said Wednesday it has reached an agreement to acquire American Eldercare Inc., which has received contracts to provide long-term care under Medicaid to seniors throughout the state. American Eldercare also has been the largest provider in the state’s longstanding “nursing-home diversion” program.

The company announcement came little more than a week before the first phase of the state’s controversial effort to shift almost all Medicaid beneficiaries into managed-care health plans. That first phase, which will occur Aug. 1, involves seniors who need long-term care and live in Central Florida: specifically, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Brevard counties.

American Eldercare and three other managed-care plans — Coventry Health Care of Florida, Sunshine State Health Plan and UnitedHealthcare of Florida — have received contracts to compete in Central Florida region.

The state Agency for Health Care Administration will gradually expand the managed-care program to other regions of the state, first for seniors who need long-term care and later adding the broader Medicaid population.

In its news release, Humana said it expects to close the deal to buy American Eldercare by the fourth quarter of this year. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the release pointed to what is expected to be a large amount of growth for American Eldercare.

“Annualized revenues for American Eldercare of approximately $75 million are anticipated to increase to over $1 billion in 2015,” the release stated.

AHCA spokeswoman Michelle Dahnke said Thursday the agency had been “fully informed” on the pending sale, which she said should not have any effect on people in the Medicaid program.

The basic thrust of shifting seniors into managed-care plans is to provide services that will allow them to stay in their homes and communities, rather than placing them in more-expensive nursing facilities. That also has been the concept behind the nursing-home diversion program.

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