W.Va. Medicaid Experiment Increased ER Visits

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- A recent report says a three-year Medicaid redesign by the state had unintended consequences.

The former Mountain Health Choices program was supposed to reduce hospital emergency room visits. But the report says the program resulted in more Medicaid recipients seeking care at emergency rooms.

House Health and Human Resources chairman Don Perdue tells the Associated Press that the program wound up costing the state money instead of saving money.

Implemented in 2007, the program created a two-tier system. People who committed to healthy behaviors received more benefits than what the traditional Medicaid program offered. Those who didn't received fewer benefits.

West Virginia scrapped the program in 2010 after a new federal rule went into effect. The rule requires adult enrollments in such programs to be voluntary.

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