Blue Shield of California launches campaign to win back Medi-Cal contracts

After losing out on California Medicaid contracts, Blue Shield of California is slamming its rivals and state leaders and launching a marketing campaign asking the public to weigh in on the state's decision. 

In an Oct. 3 news release, the insurer said it created a statewide digital advertising campaign to sway public opinion on the Medi-Cal contracts. 

Blue Shield of California created a website,, with an open letter from Paul Markovich, Blue Shield of California CEO. The website asks residents to contact California Gov. Gavin Newsom's office to protest the contract decisions. 

Molina Healthcare on Aug. 25 won Medi-Cal contracts in some of the state's largest counties as part of California's first-ever statewide managed plan procurement process. 

The competitive process was designed to address complaints that California had not monitored subpar health plans, Kaiser Health News reported Sept. 26. Insurers who won Medicaid contracts will have to meet several standards meant to increase quality and equity, including reaching or exceeding the 50th percentile among Medicaid plans on pediatric and maternal care measures.

In theopen letter, Mr. Markovich said the state's choices in awarding contracts do not measure up to the goal of increasing quality and equity. 

"The state intends to choose for-profit health plans with poor track records in improving access to quality care and constructively engaging local communities," Mr. Markovich said. 

Blue Shield lost out on contracts in all 13 counties where it submitted bids, Kaiser Health News reported. The insurer filed appeals to California's Health Care Services department, accusing rivals Anthem Blue Cross, Molina and Health Net of failing to disclose penalties against them. 

Millions of Medi-Cal recipients may have to switch insurers as a result of the new contracts.

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