Florida hopes an innovative new program will lead to improved outcomes for Medicaid beneficiaries and lower costs for their treatment.
In June, Florida became the first state to offer an integrative Medicaid health plan designed for people with chronic and severe mental illness, such as major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder.
The plan, offered by Magellan Complete Care, is a part of the state’s efforts to integrate physical and mental health care for people insured through the Medicaid program. As in most states, a major driver of Medicaid costs in Florida is caring for beneficiaries who have both mental and physical illnesses, which are usually treated separately. And the Affordable Care Act is expected to bring millions of more low-income people into the Medicaid program.
Enrollees in the new program will be given access to designated centers with a care-coordination team composed of physicians, nurses, and other health professionals who will assist patients and their caregivers in achieving overall health goals. Among the services will be appointment scheduling, arranging transportation to clinicians’ offices, and management of the patient’s treatment.
“We don’t want to have a situation where your brain is in one HMO, your teeth are in a second HMO, and your eyes are in a third HMO,” stated Florida Medicaid Director Justin Senior. “Your whole head should be in the same organization, and that is why we have done this reorganization.”
Coverage for Miami-Dade and Broward counties, among the state’s most populous, went into effect July 1. These new plans are scheduled to be established in other regions of the state by September. About 140,000 low-income Floridians are expected to be eligible for the plan. ■
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