Florida legislation would force more Medicaid beneciaries into private managed care plans

The Miami Herald reported that Florida lawmakers on Wednesday added language to a state budget companion bill (HB 5085) that would expand a Medicaid pilot program that shifts some beneficiaries to private managed care plans, such as health maintenance organizations, the Miami Herald reports. The bill seeks to expand the pilot program to nine additional counties in 2010. Critics of the pilot program say that many beneficiaries have had difficulty finding a health plan that meets their needs and that it is not clear the program saved money or improved care. The state Agency for Health Care Administration had said it would not ask lawmakers to expand the program this year, after the agency’s inspector general acknowledged problems with the pilot. However, the agency’s new secretary, Holly Benson, supports expanding the Medicaid overhaul more quickly, and state Reps. Bill Galvano (R) and Aaron Bean (R) are pushing for further expansion of the program. Galvano said officials are learning from the pilot program and will make adjustments accordingly.

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