KHI News Service

No information released on KanCare bidders

Purchasing agents say nothing will be disclosed until Feb. 22

By KHI NEWS SERVICE | January 31, 2012

The first of two deadlines for Medicaid managed care proposals to be submitted to Kansas purchasing officials was today.

But no information about the KanCare bidders will be released until the second and final filing deadline, which is next month. Feb. 22 is when interested companies must have turned in the financial information accompanying the plan proposals submitted today.

Today's 2 p.m. deadline was for the "technical proposals" that outline how the companies would operate their plans.

"We will not be releasing any information about the technical proposals received today. No information will be available until the Feb. 22 deadline for submission of cost proposals," said Chris Howe, director of procurement and contracts at the Kansas Division of Purchases, in an email to KHI News Service.

Gov. Sam Brownback unveiled the general outline of his KanCare plan in November 2011. Officials said they intend to award contracts to three companies, each of which is to operate statewide and provide managed care to virtually all Kansans who receive Medicaid services, including the elderly, disabled and mentally ill.

Currently, there are two large managed care companies providing Medicaid services to children and pregnant women from low-income homes who participate in the state's HealthWave program. Those companies are Children's Mercy Family Health Partners and Unicare.

The governor's plan has been the subject of multiple legislative hearings. Rep. Jim Ward, a Wichita Democrat, has introduced legislation that would remove services for the developmentally disabled from the pending contracts. And Sen. Dick Kelsey, a Goddard Republican, has called for postponing the plan.

Advocates and care providers for the developmentally disabled have complained that only a handful of states have included routine living assistance for the disabled in managed care contracts and that Kansas officials are moving forward too quickly with an untested program.

In December, state procurement officials said at least 12 companies had formally expressed interest in bidding, but they would not disclose the company names.

At least seven major health insurers have demonstrated active interest in bidding on the KanCare proposal by having representatives attend public pre-bid conferences.

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