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[MM Curator Summary]: After about 2 years of delay drama, the MCO contract political game is starting back up.
Healthy Blue Kansas, a new entrant to the Kansas health care market, plans to compete for $3.9 billion in KanCare contracts later this year.
Russell Gray | KCBJ
After a multiyear delay, one of the Kansas City area’s biggest insurers is readying to make a run at a giant contract to manage the state of Kansas’ Medicaid program.
First announced in November 2021, Healthy Blue Kansas intends to bid this fall on $3.9 billion contracts that will determine which insurance companies oversee KanCare.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, along with its partners Topeka-based Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas and Anthem Partnership Holding Co. LLC, a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Elevance Health Inc. (NYSE: ELV), hired Bryan Baier as the president of Healthy Blue Kansas in May.
“Bryan is recognized throughout the industry as a trusted leader who brings to Healthy Blue an extensive knowledge of Medicaid and the important role it plays in the lives and well-being of Kansans,” Dr. Greg Sweat, chief health officer at Blue KC, said in a May release. “Under Bryan’s leadership, Healthy Blue will build and expand on our commitment to working with community-based organizations across the state to improve the health of Kansas communities.”
Bryan Baier became president of Healthy Blue Kansas in May.
Healthy Blue Kansas
According to the release, Baier has more than 20 years of experience in regulatory, compliance and legislative advocacy with Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs). Baier and Healthy Blue will be based in Topeka
“By partnering with the KanCare program, care providers and community-based organizations across the state, Healthy Blue is eager for the chance to coordinate the care and critical support services that will enable individuals to live healthy and productive lives,” Baier said in the release.
Aetna, Sunflower Health Plan and United HealthCare are the current contractors for the state’s Medicaid program, which was first privatized under former Gov. Sam Brownback in 2012. KanCare serves 415,000 individuals.
The request for proposals for KanCare are expected to be issued in September, a Elevance Health spokesman said. Once awarded, Gov. Laura Kelly‘s administration indicates that the contracts would take effect Jan. 1, 2025.
Elevance Health, formerly Anthem Inc., has approximately 50 workers living in the Kansas City area. It has more than 100,000 employees across the U.S.
As of June 2022, Blue KC had 1,632 employees — almost all of which worked in the immediate Kansas City area.
According to its website, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas has 1,610 employees. It serves all counties in Kansas except Johnson and Wyandotte, which Blue KC serves.