Hundreds of North Iowans impacted by UnitedHealthcare pulling out of Iowa's Medicaid system

The Chief Executive of the Community Health Center of Mason City said children and those with special needs are particularly vulnerable as a result of the changes

Posted: Apr 1, 2019 4:05 PM
Updated: Apr 1, 2019 7:18 PM

MASON CITY, Iowa - UnitedHealthcare announced Friday it will be pulling out of Iowa’s Medicaid system and it will impact over 400,000 recipients. According to the Community Health Center of Mason City, one-fourth of their patients will soon be contacted about the change.
“I came to Iowa because it’s hard to get healthcare in Wyoming,” said Jesse Martinez.
Martinez is one of the 400,000 worried his medication won’t be covered as he switches from UnitedHealthcare to either Iowa Total Heath or Amerigroup.
“I take meds for PTSD and I am also a recovering addict,” he said. “There is a lot at risk if I don’t get my meds.”
Renae Kruckenburg, the Chief Executive of the Community Health Center of Mason City, said children and those with special needs are particularly vulnerable as a result of the changes
“If people are looking at specialty providers that they see they’re not going to know if Iowa Total Care is going to cover them yet because right now they are not contracted with anyone,” she said.
Kruckenberg said letters will likely go out to all UnitedHealthcare patients in a few weeks. Recipients will then have 90 days to make the necessary changes. Martinez just hopes the process can go smoothly.
“Getting UnitedHeathcare was easy,” he said. “The next process, I don’t know how that’s going to go.”
Those changes would start until July 1st. Kruckenberg said the Community Health Center will be available to anyone who needs assistance with the transition.

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