With 74 million people enrolled in Medicaid managed care plans – roughly 71 percent of the U.S. Medicaid population – the Health Affairs Blog has taken a broad look at Medicaid managed care, addressing the question of how it works, whether it’s working, and what its future may be.

The two-part report notes that some Medicaid managed care companies are highly profitable and that this profitability has increased in recent years.  It also notes that the manner in which these companies serve their members varies greatly, that their medical loss ratios vary considerably from state to state, and that the reserves managed care companies hold vary greatly as well.

In addition, the two-part report seeks answers to a number of questions, including:

  • whether state Medicaid administrative costs are reduced by contracting with managed care organizations;
  • how much risk is actually assumed by the managed care organizations;
  • whether Medicaid managed care actually saves money; and
  • how significant cuts in state Medicaid budget might affect the willingness of managed care companies to continue contracting with state agencies.

The Health Affairs Blog report is called “Medicaid Managed Care:  Lots of Unanswered Questions.”  Find part 1 of the report here and part 2 here.