More than 500,000 Iowans Make Switch to Privatized Medicaid Today

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- After multiple delays Iowa’s switch a privatized Medicaid system started Friday.

The road to switch 550,000 Iowans to privatized Medicaid has been a bumpy one. The original start date was scheduled for Jan. 1, 2016, but the federal government stepped in and delayed the switch several times.

“This is a major transition for our members, so we’ve been doing a lot of this planning to try and make sure it can be as smooth as possible for them,” said Amy McCoy, spokesperson for the Department of Human Services.

McCoy said the transition includes shifting to three separate managed care organizations, or MCOs. Members can choose between Ameri-Health, Ameri-Group or United Health Care.

To help with the move, DHS is extending hours of its call centers.

“They can reach out to our call center and the health plans’ call center, and we do have extra hours this weekend. Our call center will be open all day on Saturday until 5 p.m. And then the health plans have 24-7 lines as well,” McCoy said.

Members were sent information through the mail, but McCoy said the website has helpful information including videos to help make things clear.

She admits the transition is going to be a big change for members, but she is hoping people will reach out if they run into any problems.

“We have processes and procedures in place to be right on top of any issues, especially if a member feels like they’re having trouble accessing care. We want them to be giving us a call so we can help them immediately get access to services,” McCoy said.

During this transition, members are allowed to switch MCOs through mid-June.