Report Says Florida's New Medicaid Waiver Bears Watching

Oct 14, 2013

A new report warns that Florida’s new Medicaid Waiver bears watching. The new Florida program is called Managed Medical Assistance, and will be rolled out in stages beginning next year.

The Georgetown University Health Policy Institute report is the last in a series looking at Florida’s experiments with putting Medicaid programs into managed care systems- those are essentially HMO’s.

Pilot programs stretching back ten years began in Duval and Broward counties, but Georgetown University Institute Associate Professor Joan Alker says there were a lot of problems with those programs, including cost cutting efforts that compromised patient care. She says there are now federally imposed consumer protections in place.

“We think it’s important for folks to know about those consumer protections, because with the new flexibility the state has, comes accountability, accountability for those beneficiaries that rely on this program for their health and their well-being, as well as accountability for tax-payer dollars”, Alker said.

The consumer protection provisions require managed care companies to spend at least 85% of premium dollars on medical care instead of spending that money on administrative expenses, advertising and profits.

A region by region statewide roll out of the new Medicaid waiver will begin some time next year.