Corbett names insurers for Medicaid plan

HARRISBURG - The Corbett administration on Friday announced the list of insurance companies that had met its qualifications to provide coverage to hundreds of thousands of the uninsured by early 2015.

Under Gov. Corbett's Medicaid expansion alternative proposal nine insurance companies would provide health care to as many as 600,000 low-income people -- most of them the working poor -- who make too much for traditional Medicaid but whose employers provide no coverage.

"The governor is incredibly pleased with the response," said Corbett's secretary of policy and planning, Jennifer Branstetter. "The companies stepped up and came up with innovative plans."

The administration had hoped to get two bids from insurance companies in each of nine regions in the state and in the end some areas received as many as six bids.

The companies that met the bid requirements in the southeast are United Healthcare, Aetna Better Health, Health Partners, Gateway Health and Vista.

If Corbett's "Healthy Pennsylvania" plan receives federal approval the uninsured individuals could be enrolled by Jan. 1 2015.

Corbett rejected traditional Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act as being too expensive in the long term, but in September said he would seek a federal waiver, as Arkansas had, to cover the uninsured by using federal dollars to pay private insurers.

The federal government is paying 100 percent of the costs for expanded Medicaid coverage across the country in the first three years of the program, starting in 2014, and no less than 90 percent after 2016.

Corbett officials said Friday they were optimistic with the progress made in negotiations with the Department of Health and Human Services and that they are on track to launch the program early next year.

"We are entering the final phase of negotiations," said Branstetter.

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