2 minutes — and traffic — may have cost Tufts Health $400M

A two-minute document filing delay may have caused Tufts Health to lose a $400 million Medicaid contract, according to CBS affiliate WPRI.

On Jan. 28, employees of the payer were attempting to submit their bid for a Rhode Island Medicaid contract. Because of traffic and construction, Tufts says it filed the bid two minutes late, effectively disqualifying it from bidding on the state's $7 billion contract over five years.

The current contract between Tufts and Rhode Island provides Medicaid coverage to about 17,000 people and is set to expire in 2023. If the payer remains disqualified from bidding with the state, it could lose more than $400 million over five years based on its share of the current contract. 

Tufts appealed the disqualification Jan. 31, saying "unanticipated circumstances" led to the missed deadline.

"While the department is sympathetic of the events which led to the proposal being submitted late, the department is wary of accepting a late proposal and the precedent it would set," state Department of Administration Director Jim Thorsen said in a Feb. 10 letter rejecting the appeal.

"We are disappointed that our bid will not be considered by the Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services because it was submitted two minutes past the filing deadline," Phil Tracey, spokesperson for Point32Health, Tufts' parent company, told WPRI.

Tufts’ disqualification may mean big wins for the other payers in Rhode Island: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Molina Healthcare of Rhode Island, Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island and United Healthcare of New England.

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