TRENTON – Senator Paul A. Sarlo today pledged to hold the State to a commitment he generated at a Senate budget hearing to offer managed care support services on a statewide basis to an estimated 50,000 eligible Medicaid recipients who are aged, blind or disabled.
“I’m glad the Department (of Human Services) agreed to go statewide with the managed care option, but now I want to make sure the followup is carried out,” said Senator Sarlo, a member of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee.
Senator Sarlo said he was impressed by a recent actuarial study for the managed care industry which said, conservatively, New Jersey could save $12 million this year and $157 million in state and federal savings over five years by offering managed care enrollment to the so-called “ABD” Medicaid population on a statewide basis.
“The benefits of good managed care over the costlier fee-for-service programs are rooted in the care coordination and more access to health care,” Senator Sarlo said. “It’s important to note that eligible participants would have the option to choose their own insurance coverage, if they have it.”
Senator Sarlo said he understood the commitment by Human Services Commissioner Kevin Ryan to expand a Camden County pilot program for managed care to a statewide basis could be phased in during the upcoming fiscal year for a first-year savings of $12 million.
“The care coordination will reduce unneeded trips to hospital emergency rooms and that will produce significant savings,” Senator Sarlo said. “At the same time, we will expect the Department to monitor the care to make sure it is responsive to the needs of our most vulnerable Medicaid population.”
Under the proposal, so-called non-dual eligibles (those who qualify for Medicaid, but not for Medicare) would choose from five managed care groups who provide services for the ABD population: AMERIGROUP, AmeriChoice, Health Net, Horizon and University Health Plan.
Senator Sarlo said the projected savings were detailed in a report by the Lewin Group, a health care industry consultant.
Senator Sarlo also credited Senator Joseph F. Vitale, the Chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, and a host of advocacy groups like the Alliance for the Betterment of Citizens with Disabilities with advancing managed care opportunities statewide for the State’s ABD Medicaid population.