Former Iowa Medicaid carrier owes millions in unpaid claims

John Morrissey delved into a little-noticed financial report by AmeriHealth Caritas. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Although it left the Iowa Medicaid program more than seven months ago, AmeriHealth Caritas Iowa, Inc. continues to string along claims payments due to Iowa providers.

AmeriHealth – which is owned by Independence Blue Cross of Philadelphia – reported $14.6 million in unpaid liability for claims submitted last year by Iowa Medicaid providers, according to the company’s most recent quarterly financial filing with the Iowa Insurance Division. Meanwhile, the managed-care organization has racked up more than $6 million in administrative costs so far this year to manage the now-closed operation.

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Medical cannabis board recommends adding ulcerative colitis

Carl Olsen is a longtime advocate for expanding access to medical cannabis in Iowa and maintains the Iowans for Medical Marijuana website. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I attended the seventh meeting of the state Medical Cannabidiol Advisory Board on August 3 at the Iowa Laboratory Facility on DMACC’s Ankeny Campus. Current law names nine “debilitating medical conditions” which can legally be treated with cannabidiol. See Iowa Code § 124E.2(2) (2018). The board considered three petitions to expand the list. Board members denied one, deferred one, and granted the petition to add ulcerative colitis.

My observations about these rulings may help advocates lobbying officials to allow medical cannabis for other diseases or chronic health conditions now excluded under Iowa law.

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Iowa court strikes down state ban on Medicaid coverage for transgender care

A two-decade-old state administrative rule “clearly discriminates against transgender Medicaid recipients on the basis of gender identity by excluding coverage for medically necessary gender affirming surgery” while covering the same surgeries for non-transgender Iowans, a Polk County District Court ruled on June 7. Chief Judge Arthur Gamble found the rule violates both Article I, section 6 of the Iowa Constitution, which guarantees equal protection, and the Iowa Civil Rights Act, which has prohibited discrimination on the basis of gender identity since 2007.

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Don’t hide government officials from the public

Iowa Freedom of Information Council executive director Randy Evans reflects on the flawed draft advisory opinion the Iowa Public Information Board’s staff proposed in response to my inquiry. -promoted by desmoinesdem

I sometimes think government officials overlook the important role the public plays in our system of government.

That was my takeaway last week from the monthly meeting of the Iowa Public Information Board.

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Foreign lobbying will be off-limits for Iowa officials, employees

Continuing a series on Iowa legislative happenings that attracted little notice while the House and Senate were in session.

State officials will be barred from “any outside employment or activity that requires the person to register under the federal Foreign Agents Registration Act,” under a new law that takes effect on July 1. In addition, applicants for state jobs or nominees for any position that requires Iowa Senate confirmation will have to disclose whether they have ever registered as foreign agents.

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