Hassan Delays Medicaid Step 2

On April 3, Governor Hassan announced that Step 2 of Medicaid Managed Care will be delayed indefinitely so that DHHS can focus on bringing the Medicaid expansion population into managed care. Step 2 would cover Medicaid waiver populations, including those with developmental disabilities and enrollees in the Choices for Independence Program. More planning and public input is needed to assure a smooth transition. “We want to make sure that we have a system that builds on the strength of our current systems,” said Hassan. “So we are going to build on those strengths, and we are going to take the time to get it right.”

Enrollment for Step 2 focuses largely on about 12,000 developmentally disabled participants who need long-term care and was supposed to begin Dec. 1, but has been postponed to an undetermined date, he said.  The delay also suspends plans to provide a substance use disorder benefit for existing Medicaid recipients.

The state had agreed to provide the benefit to bring current Medicaid enrollees on par with the benefits that people enrolling in Medicaid through the federal expansion of the program will have.

 Federal requirements for states that expand Medicaid mean the newly eligible people must have access to a substance abuse treatment benefit. The Department of Health and Human Services is working on the definition and pricing for the benefit for those people this year, before enrollment for expanded Medicaid begins in July.

About 115,000 of the 130,000 eligible Medicaid participants have enrolled in a managed care plan, state Health and Human Services Commissioner Nick Toumpas told the Health Exchange Advisory Board yesterday.

“When we first started on this, no states were contemplating moving long-term care to managed care,” Toumpas said. “Given all the other things going on . . . we want to be much more thoughtful, and handle this respectfully of the people involved,” he said.  Hassan announced the delay at a meeting of the commission monitoring managed care last week.

The program will not move into Step 2 “until there has been a process for public input . . . that all families, providers and stakeholders have confidence in,” her spokesman, Marc Goldberg, said.