Centene, Missouri health system split, affecting foster care children and families

Centene and Springfield, Mo.-based CoxHealth will go out of network Feb. 16 after the two sides were unable to reach a new contract agreement, Springfield News-Leader reported Jan. 9. 

Centene subsidiary Home State Health administers Missouri's specialty health plan for current and former foster children and individuals receiving adoption assistance payments. 

In a statement on its website, CoxHealth said many Medicaid beneficiaries can stay in network by switching to UnitedHealth or Anthem plans. Centene is the only insurance provider for foster children, however. 

CoxHealth operates six hospitals and more than 80 clinics in Southwest Missouri and Northwest Arkansas, according to its website. 

"We are aware of the unfortunate impact this change will create for children and families, and that is why CoxHealth made every effort to reach a resolution," CoxHealth said. "We offered Centene rates on par with those we offer other managed Medicaid insurance companies, but Centene chose not to accept those rates." 

There are no active negotiations between the health system and Centene, but CoxHealth remains "open" to contracting with the payer, according to CoxHealth's statement. 

A representative for Home State Health told the News-Leader the payer is "disappointed" it could not reach an agreement with CoxHealth. 

"Over the past 12 months, we have successfully re-contracted with 134 hospitals across Missouri, and if it is not possible to reach an agreement with CoxHealth, we have a comprehensive process in place to transition our members to alternative providers in the Home State Health network," Home State Health said. 

Home State Health is the insurance provider for 13,502 children in foster care and 2,305 children awaiting adoption in Missouri, according to the News-Leader. 

Read more here. 

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