UnityPoint patients warned of plans to leave Medicaid health plan

UnityPoint Health Group announced Wednesday that it notified approximately 54,000 patients of its intent to potentially end participation in the Amerigroup Medicaid Health Plan.

Amerigroup is one of two remaining managed care organizations participating in the state’s Medicaid program, Iowa Health Link.

In a news release, UnityPoint Health officials said the group’s contract with Amerigroup of Iowa ends Dec. 31. Hospital officials said UnityPoint is continuing contract discussions with Amerigroup but may leave the provider network Jan. 1 if no deal is reached.

“It’s alarming because UnityPoint is a huge system,” NAMI Iowa Executive Director Peggy Huppert said.

Should UnityPoint leave the Amerigroup network, its hospitals, clinic and at-home services will no longer provide care for Amerigroup members beginning April 1, except for emergency care.

“We’re hopeful they can come together on contract negotiations,” Rep. John Forbes said. “I know they’ve got another 30-60 days to figure that out.”

UnityPoint officials said it would continue to be in-network for Iowa’s other MCO network, UnitedHealthcare.

UnityPoint Health said in a statement, “We feel an obligation to inform our patients now about this possible change so they can begin to think about what’s best for them and their families if the change occurs.”

“I’m sure everyone is doing their best, but it is certainly difficult circumstances, and who I feel for are the patients,” Huppert said.

For more information, Amerigroup members are asked to visit the UnityPoint Health website at www.unitypoint.org/IowaMedicaid, contact Iowa Medicaid Member Services 800-338-8366 or 515-256-4606 or visit dhs.iowa.gov/iahealthlink.

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