New Florida Medicaid Policy Brief Sets Stage for Medicaid Reform Symposium

The ins and outs of Florida Medicaid’s rising costs are examined in a new policy brief released by the Winter Park Health Foundation in July.

It is the second one commissioned by the Foundation to help educate consumers, stakeholders and policy-makers on the issues involved in Medicaid reform now underway in Florida.

The brief is being released to help kick off the Medicaid Reform Symposium–The Future of Florida Medicaid–which will be held in Orlando July 12. The Symposium, co-hosted by the Foundation, has drawn 300 registered participants–a capacity crowd–from around the state. The overwhelming response underlines the strong public interest in the subject.

Researched and written by Joan Alker, senior researcher with Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute, the brief notes that:

“In times of recession, Florida’s Medicaid costs can be expected to increase. Over the past five years, Medicaid costs in Florida have increased, on average 12.5 percent. This rate of increase is likely to slow down. Our analysis shows that enrollment increases have accounted for, on average, 62 percent of Florida’s Medicaid cost increases during this period. The remainder of the increase is due to growth in health care costs.

When enrollment increases are accounted for, Medicaid has grown consistently at a much lower rate in recent years than health care costs in the private sector. In 2003, private insurance costs nationally increased by just under 14 percent, while Florida’s per capita Medicaid cost increase was just under five percent.

Florida’s Medicaid budget can expect to see some relief from the recently enacted federal Medicare prescription drug benefit. While precise estimates are not yet available, the potential for savings is greatest for Florida since the state’s share of spending on dual-eligibles that goes to prescription drugs is the highest in the country.”

A copy of the policy brief is attached, and a copy of the first policy brief can be located on the Foundation’s website at . Also attached is a copy of the agenda for the July 12 Medicaid Reform Symposium.