Health Kentucky Politics

Passport Health Plan and Anthem Kentucky, the Medicaid providers whose contracts were not renewed by outgoing Gov. Matt Bevin last month, have another shot at continuing to serve Kentuckians.

Gov. Andy Beshear said his administration would cancel the five Medicaid contracts awarded by Bevin in his last days in office. He plans to redo the bid process early next year, with the goal of awarding new contracts by the spring. Beshear said anyone is welcome to bid, including those who were denied contracts by Bevin.

During a press conference Monday, Beshear said he wants to create a system the public can trust that is free of perceived bias. Beshear pointed to Bevin’s attitude toward Passport, whose enrollees are mostly in Louisville and which suffered when the state changed reimbursement rates last year.

‘It does create a perception that there was not a fair and level playing field,” Beshear said. “We have $8 billion on the line. I want to make sure that the process is fair, that it is as transparent as it can be. And that ultimately, at the end of the day, there won’t be questions.”

Last week, Beshear overturned Bevin’s plan to add work requirements to Kentucky’s Medicaid program. When Bevin initially requested the proposals for Medicaid providers, the applications were partially judged on the companies’ ability to meet those now irrelevant requirements.

The new bids will be considered on an accelerated timeline that could require some current contracts to be temporarily extended, Beshear said.

The request for proposals will be released in early January, with responses due a month later, around Feb. 7. After that, bids will be scored and contracts awarded by April. The current contracts are set to expire at the end of June 2020. Beshear said he is committed to making sure people are able to smoothly transition to new plans as needed.

“This decision has nothing to do with who won and who lost in the initial process. The rebidding will be fair. No one is guaranteed a contract. No one,” Beshear said.

He encouraged those who submitted winning bids to the Bevin administration to submit their bids again.

“Those who provide the best bids, who will provide the best services, who will ultimately help our people get healthy will be the ones that will be selected,” Beshear said.

Passport CEO Scott Bowers said he appreciates Beshear’s decision to undo the contract awards, saying it was the right thing to do for the company’s members and employees, as well as the state. Passport is Kentucky’s only nonprofit Medicaid provider.

“We look forward to the new RFP process and are hopeful to continue our 22 years of service to the Commonwealth and the over 300,000 members who depend on Passport for their healthcare benefits,” Bowers said in an emailed statement.

A representative for Anthem Kentucky did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company has already formally challenged its exclusion from the contract in an appeal filed earlier this month. 

This post has been updated.

 

Amina Elahi is WFPL's City Reporter.