October 6, 2006

States Experimenting with Medicaid Choice Plans

4

That’s the number of states, Florida most recently among them, experimenting with ways to put Medicaid recipients in charge of their health care, much like policyholders with private insurance.

Medicaid reform is arriving with a splash in Jacksonville and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. It’s being plugged in radio commercials, touted on billboards and talked up with church groups. All of the hype aims to prep recipients so that, from the moment they receive a bright lime-green and blue envelope in the mail, they feel they’re joining the cause.The first of about 210,000 people in Duval and Broward counties have begun to take part in Florida’s newest Medicaid experiment. The goal is to give patients incentives to make smart choices about their own health care, making them the driving force in keeping costs down for taxpayers. Florida’s two-county pilot program is at the forefront of efforts around the country to give Medicaid beneficiaries more control over their health care. But Idaho, Kentucky and West Virginia all rolled out programs this summer that vary in specifics but adopt the same approach to saving taxpayers’ money. South Carolina hopes to follow suit as soon as federal regulators sign off on its plans. Read More