One week left for managed-care firms to bid on area served only by Passport

Premium content from Business First by David A. Mann, Reporter

Managed-care companies have until next week to submit proposals to become one of the state’s new Medicaid contractors.

Currently, Passport Health Plan is the lone administrator of Medicaid services in a 16-county area that includes Jefferson County.

The state is looking to change that by the end of the year in favor of a system that would offer multiple managed-care organizations for Medicaid users.

On June 19, Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services posted a request for proposals from companies interested in providing the serv­ices. The deadline to submit proposals is July 27.

Jill Midkiff, executive director of communications for the cabinet, would not disclose how many companies have submitted proposals, saying it would hinder the competitive procurement process.

Asked how many companies the state planned to hire, Midkiff said it would be more than one.

Passport contract began in 1997

The cabinet’s Department for Medicaid Serv­ices has contracted with Passport since 1997. The company provides Medicaid-covered serv­ices to about 180,000 eligible members.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services advised the cabinet that it would not renew a waiver that allows Passport to be the single managed-care provider in the region.

That means the state will have to have more than one-managed care organization, beginning in 2013.

An attempt to reach CMS officials for comment on this story was unsuccessful.

As of November 2011, Medicaid recipients in Kentucky’s remaining 104 counties already have a choice of three managed care organizations — CoventryCares of Kentucky, Kentucky Spirit Health Plan and WellCare of Kentucky.

Passport’s Carter optimistic

Passport CEO Mark Carter said his company plans to bid on the contract.

Medicaid managed care is Passport’s only line of work. If the company wins one of the contracts, Carter said, it’s not clear what the impact of having at least one competitor would have on the company’s revenue.

Carter said the state hasn’t told his company how it will divide members between the winning bidders.

But, he said, current members have a high degree of satisfaction with Passport.

“We think we’re well-positioned and in good shape,” Carter said.


University Health Care Inc., which does business as Passport Health Plan, has managed Medicaid services in a 16-county region of Kentucky, including Jefferson County, since 1997.
Passport came under fire after a 2010 audit revealed a lack of internal controls and trans­par­ency, governance problems, excessive spending and conflicts of interest by former officials.
Since then, the company has undergone leadership changes, including the appointment of CEO Mark Carter. An audit earlier this year showed improvement from 2010.
Like any other company, Passport can compete for one of the managed-care contracts that are up for grabs in the 16-county region this year.