Learn more about the Knowledge Center Service

Medicaid Payment and Delivery Reform: Insights from Managed Care Plan Leaders in Medicaid Expansion States

by J. Zoë Beckerman; Maria Velasquez; Rachel Gunsalus; Sara Rosenbaum; Sara Rothenberg; Shyloe Jones

Mar 7, 2018

  • Issue: Managed care organizations (MCOs) are integral to Medicaid payment and delivery reform efforts. In states that expanded Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act, MCOs have experienced a surge in enrollment of adults with complex needs.
  • Goal: To understand MCO experiences in Medicaid expansion states and learn about innovations related to access to care, care delivery, payment, and integration of health and social services to address nonmedical needs.
  • Methods: Interviews with leaders of 17 MCOs in 10 states that have seen large Medicaid enrollment growth and have undertaken payment and delivery reforms.
  • Findings and Conclusions: MCO leaders regard their ability to enroll and serve the Medicaid expansion populations as a signal achievement. They have focused on identifying and helping high-risk populations and addressing the social determinants of health. MCOs are testing value-based payment strategies that link payment with performance and are increasingly focused on engaging patients in their care. Leaders report common challenges: setting appropriate payment rates; managing members whose needs differ from traditional Medicaid beneficiaries; ensuring access to specialty care; and effectively implementing payment reform and practice transformation. All point to the need for a stable policy environment and a strong working relationship with state Medicaid agencies.