Insurers Begin Efforts To Capitalize on Reform’s Expansion of Medicaid
Health insurers are beginning to campaign to manage care for the anticipated 16 million people expected to gain insurance coverage under Medicaid through the new health reform law, the Wall Street Journal reports.
A new report released Thursday by UnitedHealth Group's Center for Health Reform and Modernization suggests that states and the federal government could reduce the Medicaid's total expenditures by about $366 billion over the next 10 years by modernizing a number of practices.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated that it would cost the federal government $434 billion over the next 10 years to expand Medicaid access to about 16 million people newly eligible under the new health reform law.
However, the UnitedHealth report suggests that improving the coordination of care between doctors and shifting patients out of nursing homes could reduce that spending by billions of dollars. The report suggests that:
- AboutÂ $140 billion in savings could be generated by better coordinating long-term care and reducing the number of elderly patients in nursing homes, instead utilizing home-based care;
- $133 billion could be saved by updating Medicaid's technology and infrastructure to lower administrative expenses; and
- $93 billion could beÂ saved by adopting coordinated-care techniques that would reduce the number of drug interactions and related emergency department visits.Â
Insurance Officials Comment on Report
Simon Stevens, director of the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform and Modernization, said the report is not intended to generate new business for AmeriChoice.
However, AmeriChoice CEO Rick Jelinek acknowledged that "[t]wo-thirds of the costs identified in the paper are things AmeriChoice and UnitedHealth have the capabilities to help states attack" (Johnson, Wall Street Journal, 4/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.