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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - The state Department for Medicaid Services announced Wednesday that new contracts have been issued to five managed care organizations to begin next July, but two of the current MCOs – Anthem Kentucky and Passport Health - are being replaced.

Aetna Better Health of Kentucky, Humana Health Plan, Inc., Molina Healthcare of Kentucky, UnitedHealthcare DBA UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kentucky, and WellCare Health Insurance of Kentucky have been selected to serve Kentucky’s approximately 1.3 million Medicaid beneficiaries beginning July 1, 2020, when the current contracts expire.

Molina and UnitedHealthcare are replacing Anthem and Passport.

One MCO, WellCare, will serve all children in Kentucky’s foster care system, including some children who have been adopted from foster care, as well as children dually committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice system, affecting around 24,000 enrollees. This Medicaid program will be referred to as SKY - Supporting Kentucky Youth - and is a key component of the Commonwealth’s current transformation of the state’s child welfare system.

“SKY will simplify day-to-day interactions with providers, allow for more direct support for staff within the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS), enhance coordinated access to care for children, and most importantly improve health outcomes for our youth in out-of-home care,” said Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Adam Meier.

“Kentucky has made great strides to address these needs and has become a national leader in finding solutions to better serve the foster care population, as demonstrated by our early implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act and ongoing Child Welfare Transformation initiative,” he said.

Louisville-based Passport, who serves 300,000 Kentuckians in Jefferson and 15 other central Kentucky counties and has done business with the state for over 20 years, says they will not take the decision lying down.

“We are deeply disappointed in this decision, having been a committed partner to the state and an organization that has been dedicated to improving Kentuckians’ health and wellbeing for more than 20 years, with demonstrable results,” said Passport Chief Executive Officer Scott Bowers. “We intend to protest the state’s decision with the goal of continuing to provide Medicaid benefits and improve the health and quality of life of our members throughout the Commonwealth.”

Back in May, Passport and its partner, Evolent Health, announced plans for Evolent to acquire a 70 percent ownership interest in Passport Health Plan. The remaining 30 percent ownership interest will be held by Passport’s existing provider sponsors, including the University of Louisville. The acquisition is still expected to close by the end of this year.

“Obviously, we are disappointed in the decision not to award Passport a new Medicaid managed care contract,” said University of Louisville’s Director of Media Relations John R. Karman III. “U of L is proud of its longstanding relationship with Passport and supports its decision to challenge the outcome of the evaluation and award process for this contract.”

In February, Passport filed suit in Franklin Circuit Court over cuts in the state’s Medicaid reimbursement rate, which led to financial difficulties for the company. That suit was dropped in July, to clear the way for the Evolent and U of L acquisition.

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