SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Democrats want answers from Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration about why the four-year cost of managed care contracts for the Medicaid program jumped by more than $20 billion from earlier estimates.
However, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services defended the contracts, saying that while the overall cost is higher, more Medicaid recipients will be under managed care, which will save money in the long run.
Both the House and Senate have scheduled hearings over the next few weeks to get at why the final contracts cost so much more than previous estimates and how state officials handled the selection process.
“A lot of the hearing is just to clarify what is the real cost of the program,” said Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, chairman of the House Human Services Appropriations Committee. “Whatever the cost is, it’s going to be the largest procurement in (state) history. None of this was done with independent oversight. Nobody knows how the contracts were awarded.”
The state has spent months in the process of selecting health plans that will provide managed care coverage for about 80 percent of Medicaid recipients. DHFS said about 2.7 million people will be covered. Illinois has had managed care for Medicaid recipients since 2014, and about 63 percent are now enrolled.
DHFS officials testified at hearings last spring that the estimated cost of the managed care contracts would be $9 billion to $10 billion a year. The contracts would be awarded for a four-year period.