Feds OK Medicaid managed care, ‘LIP’ funds for Florida | Miami Herald – Miami Herald

Dealing with two major issues in Florida’s healthcare system, federal officials Thursday approved a five-year extension of a statewide Medicaid managed care program and finalized a $1.5 billion pot of funding to help with charity care.

The announcement by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services was not a surprise: State and federal officials have negotiated for months on issues such as details of the $1.5 billion for the “Low Income Pool” program.

But it means that millions of Medicaid beneficiaries will continue receiving care through HMOs and other types of managed-care plans through at least June 30, 2022. Also, it means that hospitals and providers such as federally qualified health centers will be able to tap into a larger amount of so-called LIP money to defray costs of caring for uninsured people. That is a significant source of funding for Miami’s Jackson Health System, the state’s largest public hospital.

“This [Medicaid managed care] extension has a positive and direct impact on people’s lives and their ability to access care,” Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said in a statement. “Florida’s program offers an innovative and realistic pathway to tackling some of Medicaid’s biggest challenges.”

After heavy debate, Florida lawmakers in 2011 approved moving to a system that requires most Medicaid beneficiaries statewide to enroll in managed-care plans. Supporters said the system would help improve coordination of care and hold down costs, while critics argued patients could be hurt if managed-care plans put up roadblocks to care.

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