Extension of Statewide Medicaid for Florida Approved through 2022


On August 3, 2017, federal officials in Florida approved a five-year extension of a statewide Medicaid managed care program and agreed on a $1.5 billion pool of funding to help with charity care. The state submitted a request to extend Florida’s Managed Medicaid Assistance (MMA) program through a CMS section 1115 demonstration waiver. The request met CMS’s guidelines to plan effective healthcare procedures that improve health outcomes for vulnerable Floridians.

The announcement by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services did not come as a  surprise since state and federal officials have been negotiating for months on issues including the details of the $1.5 billion for the “Low Income Pool” (LIP) program.

This announcement does mean, however, that millions of Medicaid beneficiaries will continue to receive care through HMOs and other managed-care plans until as long as June 30, 2022.  This extension also means that hospitals and providers such as federally qualified health centers will be able to tap into LIP (low income pool) money to cover costs of caring for uninsured individuals. This is a significant source of funding for Florida’s largest public hospital, Miami’s Jackson Health System.

CMS administrators believe this managed care extension will have a positive impact on people in Florida and their access to care as well as set an example for ways to overcome Medicaid challenges.

This announcement on the Low Income Pool came almost four months after Gov. Rick Scott voiced that the state and federal government had agreed on $1.5 billion in funding for the program. Despite the tentative agreement in April, state and federal officials continued to work out details.

The funds from the Low Income Pool are designated for institutions such as hospitals, federally qualified health centers, rural health clinics and medical-school physician practices, according to details of the LIP money posted online by CMS. The pool funds exclusively pay for charity care provided to uninsured low-income people — these funds do not help pay for care of low-income people who have insurance.

The $1.5 billion is an increase from $607 million last year and involves local government sources putting up money that draws down federal funds. Since the overall amount that will be available will depend on how much money the local sources provide it is not clear that the entire $1.5 billion will be tapped.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio expressed his support for the announcement stating, “the extension will enable our state to continue providing care to Medicaid recipients through a managed care program, and the annual $1.5 billion LIP allotment will provide federal resources to Florida hospitals to ensure the most vulnerable patients have access to quality health care.”

by Celia Morales on September 21, 2017

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