Don’t let Medicaid mess undermine children’s health insurance

Iowa Senate News Release
Senator Nate Boulton
Representative John Forbes
For Immediate Release:  April 15, 2019


Don’t let Medicaid mess undermine Iowa’s successful children’s health insurance program

Two members of the board of Hawki, Iowa’s nationally recognized Hawki children’s health insurance program, today raised concerns in a letter about maintaining quality as it becomes part of Iowa’s troubled privatized Medicaid program.

“This is another challenging transition for Iowa families,” said Senator Nate Boulton.  “Unitedhealthcare had been a Hawki provider for more than five years.  Those families need as much support as possible to make sure their care is not interrupted.  Specifically, we must make sure providers continue to welcome Hawki kids into their care.”

“The Hawki transition is another opportunity for the Reynolds Administration to show that it has learned from past mistakes,” said Representative John Forbes.  “Iowans were promised that a privatized health care system would increase quality and access to care. However, too often they have instead gotten more headaches and problems.”

Hawki provides low-cost health coverage for more than 70,000 children from working families across the state.   The Hawki Board of Directors guides the Department of Human Services’ efforts to develop, implement and administer the Hawki program.

The questions for the board included:

  • How will the Board/DHS communicate with Hawki families about the transition from UnitedHealthcare to one of the two remaining managed-care organizations, Amerigroup Iowa or Iowa Total Care?
  • How will the Board/DHS communicate with schools across the state to make sure that parents and school officials are aware of the upcoming changes?  This is especially concerning for parents/guardians because they will be scheduling annual physicals, immunizations and other routine care during the summer months.
  • How will parents/guardians learn whether they will be able to keep their current pediatrician or other health care provider if they are transitioning to Amerigroup Iowa or Iowa Total Care?
  • How will the Board/DHS ensure healthcare providers continue to see Hawki as a secure and trustworthy benefit program, one that they want to be involved with?