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Medicaid Health Plans Get Good Grades

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Daylina Miller / WUSF

Most people enrolled in Florida’s Medicaid managed-care program give their health plans high grades, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration. 

Beth Kidder, the state’s Medicaid director, told members of an advisory panel Wednesday that 77 percent of adults surveyed scored their Medicaid managed-care plans as an 8, 9 or 10 on a scale of zero to 10.

In addition to liking the plans, the enrollees surveyed also indicated they were pleased with the care they received. Statewide, 76 percent of those surveyed rated their care as an 8, 9 or 10. Also, 82 percent reported that it is usually or always easy to get needed care.

The scores are from surveys that ask patients about their experiences with managed-care plans. The surveys are funded and administered by health plans as part of their Medicaid contracts with the state.

State lawmakers in 2011 approved a major overhaul of the Medicaid system that requires most beneficiaries to enroll in managed-care plans. The plans --- a combination of HMOs, and what are known as provider sponsored networks --- provide care to about 3 million people, with services ranging from routine treatment to long-term care and specialty care.

The surveys, Kidder said, were conducted this year, though she did not know how many enrollees were surveyed.

Surveys about Medicaid managed care for children also showed that most beneficiaries were pleased.

Those results showed that 85 percent of respondents rated their health plans as an 8, 9 or 10 on a scale of zero to 10. Also, 88 percent of the respondents rated the health care received from the plans as an 8, 9 or 10.

Kidder shared the information with members of the Medical Care Advisory Committee which reviews Medicaid issues, during a meeting Wednesday in Tallahassee.

The committee also was provided updates on a Medicaid “waiver” program that allows Florida to operate a family planning program. In effect for 21 years, the program is available to women between ages 14 and 55 who have incomes at or below 191 percent of the federal poverty level and have lost Medicaid coverage. 

Medical Care Advisory Committee member Richard Thacker wanted to know whether minors were required to notify their parents, or have their parents’ permission, before enrolling in the family planning program.

Agency staff members couldn’t answer the question.

“I don’t know, either,” said Thacker, an osteopathic physician who has served on the committee since its inception more than a decade ago. “But I’d like to know.”

The Florida House of Representatives has fast-tracked legislation for the upcoming 2020 legislative session that would require minors to obtain parental consent before obtaining abortions.

A similar bill passed the House this spring, but it died in the Senate. Senate President Bill Galvano on Tuesday told reporters that he supports the parental-consent issue, greatly increasing the chances that the proposal --- SB 404 and HB 265 --- would pass.

Thacker said after Wednesday’s meeting that he wasn’t politicizing the family-planning issue but that he simply wanted to have the information.

“There was no political agenda to that (question) at all,” Thacker told The News Service of Florida. “I sure would like to know in comparison to other states.”