Arizona Healthcare Financial Management Association (AZHFMA)

These health insurance companies just won $50B in contracts

Seven health insurance companies have been awarded a total of $50 billion in contracts to serve 1.5 million Medicaid members in Arizona.

It's been a stressful time for health plan executives over the past couple of months, as they submitted bids for new contracts to integrate physical and behavioral health care services.

While all seven companies that bid received at least one geographical service area of the state, the only insurer that lost a statewide contract was UnitedHealthcare.

UHC had the statewide Children's Rehabilitative Services contract, but now any Medicaid enrollee who qualifies for CRS services will be assigned a health plan in their own geographical service area.

This award is an important step in reducing fragmentation for the state's Medicaid program, called the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, said Tom Betlach, director of AHCCCS.

"Integration streamlines health care delivery by focusing on the whole person and improving outcomes for the members we serve," he said.

The new contracts, called AHCCCS Complete Care, will begin Oct. 1, which is when AHCCCS will transition about 300,000 members to a managed care organization in their geographic service area.

With one plan, one provider network and one payer, health care providers are better able to coordinate care, and members can more easily navigate the system, both of which ultimately improve health outcomes, Betlach said.

AHCCCS members in every county will have a choice of health plans, with the most choice going to Medicaid members who live in Maricopa County. Members will be notified of their health plan assignment in June and can make changes to their assignment during July.

Angela Gonzales, Senior Reporter, Phoenix Business Journal, covers health, biotech and education.