Can state Medicaid programs experience savings through medical-behavioral integration?

When it comes to Medicaid costs, a single percentage point can have billion-dollar implications. Medicaid managed care premiums increased only 1.0% to 2.0% on average in recent years. This increase in premiums amounts to $36.5 to $41.9 billion over 10 years in total, with the state governments funding $13.0 to $14.9 billion. Reducing costs by even a tenth of a percent has significant implications for Medicaid, which is why increased behavioral health deserves consideration.

Milliman’s Stephen Melek’s new research paper, Bending the Medicaid healthcare cost curve through financially sustainable medical-behavioral integration, recommends providing more behavioral healthcare services to Medicaid beneficiaries, not fewer, through integrated medical-behavioral healthcare programs.

The paper also presents some data to assess the value opportunity for doing this integration, discusses the language of integrated/collaborative care, addresses the challenges in achieving financially sustainable integration models, and looks at recent innovations and pilot programs that are focused on delivering better healthcare, attempting to achieve better clinical and financial outcomes, and providing input for the case that medical-behavioral integration innovations can work well.

The entire research paper can be downloaded and read here.

Also, for more Medicaid insight from our experts, see here.

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