Bill for managed care plans praised in Sen. committeeby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A Senate committee on Monday heard testimony on legislation targeting health plans that do business with the state.
In a hearing that lasted several hours, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee received mostly positive feedback on a bill aimed at greater public transparency for managed care plans. The bill would require a third-party audit for nonprofit health plans such as UCare and Medica.
Members of the committee said they want greater transparency from the health plans that carry out Minnesota's Medicaid program.
Those representing the health plans say they are not opposed to additional reporting requirements.
But committee Chairman David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, said he wants it to go farther than that. He pushed an amendment to require all those involved in Medicaid to provide data to be made available on a public website.
"If we could have the opportunity to collect similar kinds of information from the whole array of people who are receiving the state dollars — from the plans to the hospitals, to the providers to the clinics — all the way through," Hann said. "They would have the same obligation to provide this data to give the department an opportunity to report on that to answer the questions that have been raised today
Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson told the committee the legislation addresses concerns raised about whether the state is getting a good deal on contracts with the health plans.
"It's clear to me that there is some public mistrust of the way that we in the past have contracted with health plans, and I don't think we can just wish that away," Jesson said. "We need to address it, and I think independent audits are a good way of doing that."
Lawmakers are concerned about whether the health plans are making too much money off of state programs. Senators expressed support for the bill but won't take a vote until the bill's costs are fully analyzed.
The committee will vote on the bill at a later date.