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Kansas doesn't pick Minneapolis-based UCare for Medicaid contract – Star Tribune

UCare has suffered a second setback in its plan to expand health insurance outside Minnesota.

in This month’s results announcedKansas officials gave a low rating to a Minneapolis-based health maintenance organization when it bid for a contract to manage care for beneficiaries in the state’s Medicaid program. Officials recommended awarding the contract to Minnetonka-based UnitedHealthcare, a unit of Missouri-based Centene Corp., and a partnership with two health insurers, Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

UCare’s efforts to grow in Iowa suffered a similar fate in August 2022, when state Medicaid officials chose to hire two for-profit health insurance companies instead of nonprofit UCare.

“We are disappointed with the outcome of CanCare, but we knew it would be extremely difficult to compete with the established plan in Kansas,” UCare said in a statement to the Star Tribune. “In our view, all [request for proposals] These opportunities are valuable learning experiences and the foundation for ultimate success.”

With approximately 1,700 employees, UCare is the fifth largest nonprofit organization in Minnesota. As part of a demonstration project to determine whether nonprofit health plans can effectively manage care for people in the Medicaid program, which primarily serves low-income individuals, the insurance company will It was established in the 1980s by

Over the years, UCare has added Medicare Advantage insurance for seniors and individual health insurance to its lineup of services, but its geographic reach has been limited primarily to parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

In Kansas, an HMO made grants to certain medical groups and hired a market president to run operations in preparation for the bidding process.

Last year, UCare announced it would pay $100 million to the University of Minnesota as part of a settlement in which the university gave up a majority stake in UCare’s board of directors. The money, paid through UCare’s foundation, will support a range of health programs and services, including health care in underserved areas jointly identified by the university and the health plan.

The university filed a lawsuit against UCare in 2022, seeking to block the HMO from changing the makeup of its board of directors. The university’s lawsuit suggested that university officials were using their position on the board to question UCare’s expansion plans in Iowa.

In a statement Wednesday, UCare wrote: “We have been a leader in government program health plans for 40 years, are deeply committed to serving Medicaid enrollees, and our community-based model is an excellent choice not only for Minnesota, but also for the state of Minnesota. We believe this will be an asset to new states seeking a partner with a proven track record.”

At the end of last year, UCare insured about 636,000 people, about 48% more than at the end of 2019. This increase was due in part to the suspension of Medicaid eligibility redeterminations during the COVID public health emergency.

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