New Medicaid Expansion States Could Boost UnitedHealth, Centene

By | November 7, 2018

A yard sign promoting Initiative 427, the Medicaid Expansion Initiative, is seen in Omaha, Neb. Oct 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Votes to expand Medicaid in Nebraska, Idaho and Utah could benefit myriad health insurance companies like Centene and UnitedHealth Group that have already made successful forays into administering benefits for poor Americans for several states.

Republican-leaning states voted Tuesday to expand Medicaid coverage for poor Americans to tens of thousands of people via ballot initiative in what is expected to bring even more management of Medicaid patients under private health insurance companies. And that is potentially good news for Anthem, Centene, Molina Healthcare and UnitedHealth because all having growing Medicaid businesses.

In the case of UnitedHealth Group, the insurer already administers Medicaid benefits for Nebraska so it would seem to have a possible inside track to manage more enrollees. Since Nebraska voted to expand Medicaid, 45,000 will gain coverage and the uninsured rate will fall to 9.6% from 12.4% next year, according to figures from a study earlier this year by the Urban Institute.

It’s less clear who would win the additional Medicaid benefits that will become available should Utah and Idaho issue requests for proposals to private insurers to administer additional Medicaid beneficiaries.

But Centene has been one of the most successful health insurance companies in helping states that have expanded Medicaid under the ACA. Centene, for example, is already working to get the Medicaid managed-care business in North Carolina.

“In early August of 2018, North Carolina released an RFP for the state’s first time transition of Medicaid members … to service in the managed care,” Centene CEO Michael Neidorff told analysts last month on the company’s third-quarter earnings call.”We have been planning for this RFP for several years. In January of 2017, we established a joint venture with the North Carolina State Medical Society to collaborate on a statewide member focused approach to Medicaid managed care.”

Forbes – Healthcare