DES MOINES, Iowa — A representative for one of the insurance companies overseeing Iowa’s newly privatized Medicaid program said Monday the company has lost money during the system’s implementation, but declined to say exactly how much.
Kim Foltz, CEO for UnitedHealthcare’s Iowa operations, cited information in a new quarterly report in telling a legislative oversight committee at the Iowa Capitol that the company has lost money. The confirmation means all three insurance companies that run Iowa’s health care program for more than 500,000 poor and disabled residents have lost money in the initial months of implementation.
The new program, which supporters said would improve care and contain costs, has been under scrutiny over reports of delays in care and payments to health care providers.
AmeriHealth Caritas and Amerigroup, the other insurance companies, filed reports with the state recently that showed losses in the tens of millions of dollars in the first six months. AmeriHealth Caritas said it had a $42.6 million deficit on its Iowa operation; Amerigroup reported a loss of $66.7 million.
UnitedHealthcare, which has other lines of business in Iowa, did not break down those costs in its filing.
Sen. David Johnson, a former Republican from Ocheyedan who recently changed his affiliation to “No Party,” turned to Foltz during the meeting and asked about the state filing. He asked her if the company was losing money, and she responded by referencing data in a separate quarterly report released Friday.
“Our numbers are represented in the quarterly report, and by those numbers, the answer to your question is yes,” she said.
Foltz declined after the meeting to release more specifics, reiterating that the company was reporting publicly what was in the quarterly report, which was released by the Iowa Department of Human Services, the state agency that is overseeing the three insurance companies. That report does not list a specific dollar figure.
Foltz made the comment to lawmakers on the Health Policy Oversight Committee, an interim legislative group tasked with helping to oversee the state’s transition to Medicaid. Monday’s meeting marked the first time the joint committee has met since privatization went into effect in April, though an advisory committee is also helping review the program.
The committee on Monday reviewed the new DHS quarterly report. Department officials and representatives for the companies — also known as managed care organizations or MCOs — took turns answering questions about the report.
The officials and representatives also responded to questions that lawmakers said were related to complaints by a group of health care providers, patients and advocates who attended an earlier event at the Capitol. That group expressed frustrations over late payments and care.
Michele Meadors, a Medicaid patient, said she has experienced delays in care related to an automobile accident she experienced several years ago. She said the delays have affected her ability to purchase supplies that allow her to do critical tasks, such as urinating.
“I don’t care what it takes to get it fixed,” she told lawmakers at the first meeting. “But we need to stop and get it fixed.”
DHS has repeatedly said such issues are not indicative of systemic problems. All three representatives for the MCOs said they recognize the complaints, and they’re working hard to communicate with all stakeholders in the process. Some also noted stories of success in improving care.
Sen. Amanda Ragan, a Democrat from Mason City and the committee’s co-chair, said she hopes the three insurance companies “realize there’s a problem and that they come back with some solutions.”