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Committees Okay Medicaid Contract Extension

Sue Lincoln

The legislature's Joint Health and Welfare Committee met Thursday to consider a contract extension for the company that processes the state's Medicaid bills.

As a practical matter, what choice do we have as far as another vendor on this?” Baton Rouge state Senator Dan Claitor wondered. “I mean, we don’t have any other vendor, and it’s rather difficult to negotiate when you don’t have another option.”

The cost of the contract with Molina Information Systems has been a sore point with lawmakers, since it's one of the bigger state contracts with a private company.

The structure of the contract is essentially based on transaction counts. We do anticipate additional transactions simply from the expansion of Medicaid,” Shawn Hotstream with the Legislative Fiscal Office stated

But this time, Hotstream said, the state has negotiated a fixed price.

Kenner Representative Tom Wilmott had questions.

Are we in a much better posture this year, compared to last year?”

It’s exactly the same price as the current year, minus the transaction fees,” Louisiana Medicaid director Jen Steele replied.

I’m paying the 46-million and that’s it,” she added.

So it’s a big fix?” Wilmott asked

It is for me,” she said, definitively.

Senate Health Committee chair Fred mills was pleased, saying, “You found that sweet spot that we all needed.”

But Claitor still wasn't entirely comfortable with the deal.

It’s an improvement over last year, which I appreciate they’ve put a lot of effort into, but it’s still a sword hanging over our head with not much in the way of options,” Claitor said.

Despite his reservations, Claitor joined the rest of both committee members in unanimous approval of the contract extension, through calendar year 2017.