Former Iowa Medicaid carrier's financial sleight of hand

John Morrissey investigates anomalies in financial reports filed by AmeriHealth Caritas, which left Iowa’s Medicaid program last year. -promoted by desmoinesdem

A managed care company that left the Iowa Medicaid program last November financially engineered its first quarter report to state regulators this year, even as it dragged its feet in paying Iowa medical providers for claims that were then more than 90 days old.

AmeriHealth Caritas Iowa, Inc. claimed in its calendar first quarter filing with the Iowa Insurance Division (IID) that general administrative costs to run its Iowa operation totaled $20 million. But at the end of June, the company reduced that expense to $6 million without explanation.

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State board rejects religious claim for cannabidiol

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

On Thursday, September 20, the Iowa Board of Pharmacy moved to dismiss my petition for the religious use of medical cannabidiol, in Olsen v. Board of Pharmacy, No. CVCV056841 (Iowa District Court, Polk County).  The Board says the petition should have been filed with the Iowa legislature instead of the board.

The problem with the board’s position is that the legislature has given the board the duty of recommending changes in the schedules of controlled substances and medical cannabidiol is a controlled substance in Iowa.  There is also an existing exemption for the religious use of peyote, a Schedule 1 controlled substance.  Iowa Code § 124.204(8) (2018).

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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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