by Devon M. Herrick
National Center for Policy Analysis
February 19, 2014
Arkansas has moved most of its Medicaid enrollees into privately-administered managed care plans. Currently, half a million Arkansas beneficiaries are enrolled in managed care. This is equivalent to nearly 80 percent of the Medicaid population in Arkansas before the state expanded eligibility. However, the state has been very slow to move Medicaid enrollees to managed drug plans. State Medicaid programs that carve out drug benefits often ignore drug therapy coordination and management. By contrast, integrating prescription drugs benefits with Medicaid managed care health plans improves quality and increases efficiency. In addition, privately managed Medicaid drug plans are more efficient than state-administered Medicaid drug benefit programs. Legislators will likely find that drug plan managers will lower costs if they allow drug plans to compete.