Arizona Awaiting Bids On $55 Billion RFP To Restructure AHCCCS Plan Management

Published: Monday, January 22, 2018 - 7:00am
Updated: Monday, January 22, 2018 - 8:57am

There are currently 1.9 million Arizonans are enrolled in AHCCCS, the state’s Medicaid program, which serves low-income residents. The program is now undergoing a major structural change.

Right now, long-term care companies take care of long-term needs, regional health care authorities address mental health needs and acute care plans treat physical health needs.

AHCCCS is now requesting bids from companies for a seven year, $55 billion contract.

It will integrate physical and behavioral health care coverage for most program recipients.

Deb Gullett is executive director of the Arizona Association of Health Plans.

She said this is the largest procurement in Arizona’s history. 

“Instead of having one health insurance or one health plan pays for the broken arm, and the other plan pays for the substance abuse disorder, or the behavioral health problem, now all of that will be taken care of and managed by one health plan,” Gullett said.

Bids are due at the end of January. New contracts will be awarded in March.

“The direction our state is going is to say we need to treat the whole patient," Gullett said. "We need to not disconnect the head from the body. We need to understand that if we’re really going to take care of the most vulnerable people, the people at highest risk, who cost the most money, we need to come up with a new approach to treat them, so we need to integrate."

She said in Arizona, about 5 percent of AHCCCS recipients account for about 50 percent of the program’s cost.

Gullett said once all the health plans are integrated into one plan, patients will be managed more effectively, regardless of ailment.

If you like this story, Donate Now!

Like Arizona Science Desk on Facebook