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Life After Kentucky Spirit: Passport, Humana Ready to Expand?

As the fallout continues from the announced departure of statewide Medicaid operator Kentucky Spirit, many other Medicaid operators are already looking to take their place.Kentucky Spirit announced last week they would break their contract with the state early. State officials say they won’t re-open those statewide contracts to replace Kentucky Spirit until the current contracts expire.When the state first decided to implement Medicaid managed care statewide, seven companies initially expressed interest. But only three received contracts: Kentucky Spirit, Coventry Cares and WellCare.Bidding for statewide contracts won't occur again until late next year. But Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary  Audrey Haynes says all four Louisville region operators have expressed interested in getting statewide contracts. “All of those companies are interested in looking statewide with us in the future, they’ve all voiced that,” Haynes told lawmakers at a recent committee hearing.That would include statewide contract renewals for Coventry Cares and WellCare, but new statewide contracts for Humana and Passport. All four currently are slated to serve the Louisville region.Passport CEO Mark Carter says his group is interested in expansion and has received encouragement to do so.“In fact while some of the implementation challenges have taken place in the rest of the state, we received a number of unsolicited calls asking us if we would try to work with the Cabinet to expand currently,” he says.Carter says Passport's reputation for quality care is well-known throughout the state and is a positive for his company. He says the reasons Passport wants to expand is to help maintain staffing levels since they no longer have exclusive rights to the Louisville region and to expand their quality of care to those currently outside its service region.Humana officials have not responded to a request for comment on what their plans are.

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