The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

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April 3, 2013

Oklahoma consultant studying Arkansas plan

(Continued)

NORMAN, Okla. —

DHS has said any plans like Arkansas’ must provide benefits and services “comparable” to Medicaid’s. Those would include so-called “wraparound services,” such as payments for transportation to a medical provider.

An advantage of using private insurers is that it could reduce Medicaid “churning,” in which people go on and off the program because their income, and thus eligibility, fluctuates, according to a DHS document released recently.

Cline said Leavitt Partners will look at plans in Arkansas as well as other states, then bring forth recommendations on how Oklahoma should move forward.

“The Arkansas plan is one of those pieces that have come out that has some interesting elements, as do several other plans,” Cline said.

Leavitt Partners declined to say which elements of other states’ plans it was examining.

Alex Weintz, Fallin’s communications director, said Fallin is aware of the Arkansas proposal, but is awaiting the final report from Leavitt Partners, due June 30, before moving forward.

“Right now, we, as an administration, are interested in what other states are doing, but we’re not driven by what other states are doing,” Weintz said. “We view that (the report) as a starting point to continue the conversation on where we go from here.”

Cline said the Oklahoma plan will use elements from other states’ plans, but will be tailored to the needs of Oklahoma. Leavitt Partners has just finished an examination of SoonerCare and is now gathering data from other states, he said.

“We have a little distance yet to cover in this process,” Cline said.

Another group watching the Arkansas plan with interest is the Oklahoma Hospital Association.

Craig Jones, association president, said while there are few specifics on how an Oklahoma plan will expand coverage, the association believes that it can’t be done without federal assistance, Jones said.

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