Re “Inspector faults managed care cost” (Page A1, Aug. 3): We appreciate the inspector general’s thoughtful report on MassHealth’s managed care plans. His report supports a finding that MassHealth has brought to the Legislature’s attention over the last several years: that the overall costs per MassHealth member are lower when the member is covered in the primary care clinician program that MassHealth directly administers than when the member is covered in an externally contracted managed care organization.
The administration has tackled costs as part of a comprehensive managed care strategy that included rate and contracting efficiencies, and realized $310 million in savings last year alone. In citing the $67 million that MassHealth saved this year in reducing managed care organization rates, the inspector general limited his analysis only to hospital and specialist rates. Even before last year, annual rate increases have been held under 4 percent, far below the 12-to-14 percent annual increases that were the norm under the previous administration.
The health care cost containment legislation that Governor Patrick signed Monday creates a framework to further evaluate and address the market power that contributes to these excess costs.
As important as cost savings are, our primary goal is to ensure that the health care received by MassHealth members is high-quality care that meets their needs. We look forward to continuing our work with managed care organizations as valued partners, and we expect them to continue working with us to find additional ways to make Massachusetts health care better and more affordable.