Legislation has been proposed in Louisiana to take the Medicaid preferred drug list (PDL) content responsibility away from the MCOs and shift it to a single state-determined PDL. The Menges Group assessed the impact of this policy option and estimated by transitioning to a PDL, Louisiana would experience a 13.5% increase in Medicaid pharmacy expenditures, with State Fund costs growing by $23 million in FFY2019 and $121 million across the five-year timeframe FFY2019-FFY2023. The non-financial programmatic dynamics of MCO latitude relative to a uniform Medicaid PDL are also discussed.
Currently, Louisiana includes (carves in) the pharmacy benefit in its capitated contracts with Medicaid MCOs. During FFY2017, Louisiana had the nation’s most favorable Medicaid generic dispensing rate at 90.9% and the nation’s 8th best (lowest) cost per prescription. The Menges Group analyzed the impact of legislation proposing a carve-out of the prescription drug benefit. Based on our analysis, transitioning the Medicaid prescription drug benefit back to fee-for-service would be costly for the Medicaid program and Louisiana’s taxpayers. We estimate that Louisiana would experience a State Fund cost increase of $69.3 million in FFY2019 and $395 million across the five-year timeframe FFY2019-FFY2023. Our report also discusses the programmatic advantages of preserving the pharmacy carve-in model.