UnitedHealthcare of Pa. loses protest of Medicaid contract awards in Commonwealth Court

UnitedHealthcare of Pa. loses protest of Medicaid contract awards in Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. The program starts in Southwestern Pennsylvania in January and in July in the Philadelphia area.

UnitedHealthcare of Pennsylvania Inc. failed to convince a panel of Commonwealth Court judges that it deserved another crack at winning a piece of a new Medicaid managed-care program for nursing homes and other long-term services for the elderly and the disabled, according to an opinion released Wednesday.

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services in August 2016 selected units of Centene Corp., AmeriHealth Caritas, and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to manage the benefits, worth as much as $5.4 billion annually, throughout the state.

United, a unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc., of Minneapolis, came in fourth overall. Its appeal said it was unfair that Centene, which has not yet operated in Pennsylvania, was allowed to submit performance scores from other states. It also said that the evaluation of small diverse businesses included in the bid did not account for whether those business could actually perform the work, just that they qualified as small and diverse businesses.

Commonwealth Court, in an 18-page opinion by written by Senior Judge James Gardner Colins, rejected all of United’s arguments because the company did not meet deadlines for protesting a contract award, and for other reasons.

A United spokeswoman said in an email: “We disagree with the Commonwealth Court’s decision on our appeal of Community Health Choices (LTSS) decision, and we will continue to pursue all available options.”

United, which is also involved in an appeal of contract awards for traditional Medicaid managed care, said it has more than one million Pennsylvania customers in commercial, Medicare, Medicaid, and military plans.