NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Florida's Medicaid Reform

November 21, 2011

During its five years of operations, Florida's Medicaid Reform Pilot has been a decided success, improving the health of enrolled patients, achieving high patient satisfaction and keeping cost increases below average.  Since then, Florida has passed its Statewide Reform, which promises to extend these benefits throughout the state.  If Florida's Medicaid Reform Pilot experience were replicated nationwide, the outcomes in almost every facet of the program would be significantly improved and would offer participants meaningful reforms to a system that has been falling into decay, says Tarren Bragdon, of the Heritage Foundation.

  • The pilot program, which was isolated to five counties in Florida, saved an estimated $118 million per year, with an aggregate estimated annual savings of $901 million when the reform is put in place statewide.
  • Researchers suggest that if a similar program were to be put in place nationwide, it would save $28.6 billion annually.
  • The pilot program's results can be fairly projected on the nation as a whole because the program served a diverse population of 2.93 million, which includes 290,000 Medicaid recipients.

The program's success is not only fiscal -- it has exceeded expectations in almost every one of the six objectives that were established to measure its performance.

  • First, the program drastically increased the number of options with meaningful distinctions, with enrollees sometimes having as many as 16 plans to choose from.
  • Second, the pilot ensured greater access to services that are often ignored.
  • Third, pilot patients are obtaining better health outcomes, with Reform Pilot counties outperforming non-Reform Pilot counties and the national average in 64 percent and 53 percent of health measures, respectively.
  • In its fourth objective to ensure the ability to opt-out of Medicaid, the program performed poorly with little participation or interest.
  • Fifth, enrollee satisfaction was promoted, with 83 percent of satisfaction measures for Health Maintenance Organizations and 100 percent for Provider Service Networks above national averages.
  • Sixth, the program achieved these broad gains while holding costs far below national averages.

Source: Tarren Bragdon, "Florida's Medicaid Reform Shows the Way to Improve Health, Increase Satisfaction, and Control Costs," Heritage Foundation, November 9, 2011.

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