Michael J. McCue, Michael H. Bailit
In many states, Medicaid programs have contracted out the delivery of health care services to publicly traded health plans that are focused on managing the care of Medicaid members. Under the health reform law, states will be expanding the enrollment of their Medicaid programs and these publicly traded companies are expected to capitalize on this growing market. This study examined how publicly traded health plans differ from non–publicly traded ones in terms of administrative expenses, quality of care, and financial stability and found publicly traded plans that focused primarily on Medicaid enrollees paid out the lowest percentage of their Medicaid premium revenues in medical expenses and reported the highest percentage in administrative expenses across different types of health plans. The publicly traded plans also received lower scores for quality-of-care measures related to preventive care, treatment of chronic conditions, members’ access to care, and customer service.