Another extension likely in Medicaid talks

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Florida’s incoming Medicaid director said Friday he expects another extension in talks with the federal government about continuing a five-county pilot program that requires beneficiaries to enroll in managed-care plans, reports the News Service of Florida. The controversial pilot, which started in 2006, was scheduled to expire June 30. But the state has received a series of extensions as it tries to reach agreement on continuing the program for three more years. The latest deadline in the talks is Wednesday. But Justin Senior, who will become acting Medicaid director Sept. 10 after the resignation of Roberta Bradford, said he expects another extension and that negotiations might last an additional 30 to 45 days. Senior said state and federal officials are talking about issues such as the Low Income Pool, which is part of the pilot that funnels $1 billion a year to hospitals and other health providers that care for large numbers of poor and uninsured patients. Another issue is the possibility of a “medical loss ratio,” which would require managed-care plans to spend certain percentages of money on patient care. The pilot requires most Medicaid beneficiaries in Broward, Duval, Baker, Clay and Nassau counties to enroll in HMOs or other managed-care plans known as provider-service networks

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