On Monday, August 17, 2015, the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) issued a Notice of Intent to Award contracts to four (4) bidders to serve as contractors under the Iowa Medicaid Modernization initiative. Those selected are: Amerigroup Iowa, Inc.; AmeriHealth Caritas Iowa, Inc.; UnitedHealthcare Plan of the River Valley, Inc.; and Wellcare of Iowa, Inc.  DHS’ announcement stated that these four entities demonstrated abilities to manage care provided to Medicaid beneficiaries under this risk-based approach to Iowa’s Medicaid program. This new initiative has been named IA Health Link and is slated for implementation effective January 1, 2016.

Iowa Medicaid currently serves approximately 560,000 Iowans. DHS states that Iowa Medicaid program costs have grown 73 percent since 2003. “Starting January 1, these experienced MCOs [managed care organizations] are positioned to help us achieve savings at a time when there is an ever growing demand on our state’s medical assistance program,” DHS Director Chuck Palmer stated.

Information about the Iowa Medicaid Modernization initiative is available from DHS at http://dhs.iowa.gov/ime/about/initiatives/MedicaidModernization. To help prepare its physician members for this major transition, the Iowa Medical Society has developed a webinar and other educational resources available through its website at www.iowamedical.org.