Blue Cross is entering Medicaid market

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida plans to enter the state's Medicaid program and compete in what might soon become a statewide managed care system.

The announcement comes just days after Florida lawmakers said they want to enroll almost all Medicaid beneficiaries in managed care plans. However, Blue Cross spokesman John Herbkersman declined to say the move into Medicaid was tied to the legislature's decision, reports the Jacksonville Business Journal.

If approved by the federal government, the overhaul would lead to almost all Florida Medicaid recipients enrolling in managed care plans by the end of 2014. HMOs and provider-service networks would compete for contracts in 11 regions of the state, according to the Palm Beach Post.

"As the state's largest health insurer, BCBSF already serves many of Florida's residents,'' Herbkersman said. "An expansion into the state's Medicaid market allows BCBSF to provide the state's Medicaid beneficiaries with the same level of service and quality that our members experience every day.''

Michael Garner, president of the Florida Association of Health Plans, suggests that a lot of health plans are focusing on the short term right now. "I think there's a buzz in the marketplace that Florida's Medicaid program is a great business opportunity," he said.

To learn more:
- see the Palm Beach Post article
- read the Jacksonville Business Journal story