Des Moines, Iowa — A sixty-day delay in the implementation of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad’s transition of Medicaid to managed care plans is causing some uncertainty about the insurance of nearly 40,000 children in Iowa who get health coverage through Iowa’s Hawk-i plan.
Iowa Medicaid and Hawk-i spokesperson Amy McCoy tells us what Hawk-i is.
She says it’s for people who don’t qualify for Medicaid but still need some assistance with health coverage. McCoy tells us while the Medicaid switch over is now scheduled for March 1st, the state has already terminated its contracts with Hawk-i providers Wellmark and United Health Care, anticipating the switch over of Hawk-i recipients to the Medicaid/managed care plans, called “Iowa Health Link” on January 1st. The state has asked Wellmark and United to extend their contracts and continue to manage the Hawk-i program until March, but Wellmark declined. She tells us what they’re going to do about that.
While United Health Care has a larger provider network, some people may find that their provider is not on United’s list. But she says United has set up continuity of care, which means that even out-of-network providers can work with them to serve the Hawk-i population.
Meanwhile, she says the new start date mandated by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services gives providers more time to become familiar with the managed care plans and be ready for the March first implementation.