Iowa delays contract negotiations for $5B Medicaid program

Despite promises from the Iowa Department of Human Services to finish Medicaid contract negotiations before state legislators pass an annual budget, contract negotiations have been stalled and the legislation is expected to pass a budget as early as next week,  reports the Des Moines Register.

In 2015, Iowa hired several for-profit companies, including UnitedHealthcare and Amerigroup, to manage its $5 billion Medicaid program. However, the companies have complained about severe losses from the program and are seeking raises.

Without the contract negotiations, the $7 billion proposed annual budget could leave the Medicaid program tens of millions of dollars short, especially if the state DHS agrees to raises for UnitedHealthcare and Amerigroup.

The Medicaid contract negotiations have been delayed for several months because state regulators hired a different consulting company to estimate the Medicaid beneficiaries' needs, a DHS spokesperson told the Des Moines Register, adding that once the estimates from the new consulting company are available negotiations will continue.

However, if the negotiations are similar to last year, they could drag on for months.

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