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Some Virginia policymakers have indicated an interest in moving to a pharmacy “carve-out” within the Medicaid managed care program, whereby the state would instead manage the pharmacy benefit for MCO enrollees, including paying directly for drugs made available in the program. Virginia’s Association of Health Plans engaged The Menges Group to estimate the fiscal impacts of Virginia switching to a carve-out model as well as the programmatic advantages and disadvantages of this potential change. We estimate that a change to a pharmacy carve-out would result in a 20.2% increase in net (post-rebate) Medicaid pharmacy expenditures across the five year timeframe SFY2020 – 2024, increasing net state fund costs by $12 million in the first year of implementation and by $157 million over five years.

PCMA engaged The Menges Group to estimate the financial and programmatic value of managing the prescription drug benefit in the Medicaid managed care setting, comparing states that utilize MCOs – who contract with PBMs – for their prescription drug benefits to states that manage their prescription drug benefits in FFS. Using Medicaid prescription drug data reported by each state to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for all Medicaid-paid pharmacy-dispensed prescriptions, we analyzed how prescription drug costs and usage vary depending on how prevalent managed care is in each state Medicaid program. We also analyzed the drug costs and usage within specific therapeutic drug classes.

Policymakers are considering moving Medi-Cal to a pharmacy “carve-out” – that is, shifting the pharmacy benefit out of managed care to instead be administered by the state in fee-for-service (FFS). The carve-out proposal is motivated, in part, by the potential for the state to collect more drug manufacturer rebates. This report, commissioned by Local Health Plans of California, provides strong evidence that a pharmacy benefit carve-out will not achieve its intended cost savings and will have an adverse impact on the integrated, whole-person approach to care the Medi-Cal program has embraced.

The Pennsylvania Coalition of Medical Assistance MCOs engaged The Menges Group to estimate the fiscal impacts of switching to a uniform PDL in Pennsylvania and to assess the programmatic advantages and disadvantages of this policy change. Our analyses indicate that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and its taxpayers would incur significant costs if Pennsylvania adopts a uniform, state-determined Medicaid PDL. The state fund cost of this policy change is estimated at $81 million in the first year (FFY2020) and $442 million across the five-year timeframe FFY2020 – FFY2024. The programmatic dynamics of switching to a uniform PDL are also unfavorable. We encourage Pennsylvania policymakers to preserve the PDL latitude model within HealthChoices.

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) engaged The Menges Group to assess West Virginia’s Medicaid pharmacy carve-out impacts, analyzing the findings of another consulting firm’s report. Our analyses suggest that West Virginia’s carve-out has created increased Medicaid expenditures rather than savings. We also provide a large volume of evidence from states that switched to a carve-in approach (comparing their cost per prescription progression to states that maintained their carve out model). These results, taking into account all Medicaid pharmacy claims and rebates in 13 states and across a several year comparison timeframe, compellingly indicate that the carve-in model has yielded large-scale savings relative to the carve-out approach.

The Menges Group was asked to update an analysis of New York’s Medicaid prescription drug expenditure growth over the past several state fiscal years (SFY). Based on our analysis of year-over-year trends since SFY2014, we anticipate that single-digit annual growth is most likely to occur in the upcoming year. This is also in alignment with CMS nationwide estimates of Medicaid prescription drug expenditure trends.

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.

Over 90 percent of Louisiana’s Medicaid prescriptions are paid for by MCOs. The Louisiana Association of Health Plans engaged us to assess the impacts of a potential policy change to take the preferred drug list (PDL) content responsibility away from the Medicaid MCOs and shift it to a single state-administered and state-determined PDL. Our key finding is that this policy change would be costly to the State and its taxpayers – increasing overall annual Medicaid costs by $40 million and increasing annual State Fund expenditures by approximately $15 million. Our report provides evidence across dozens of states demonstrating that a focus on optimal management of Medicaid’s drug mix at the “front end” produces more favorable net costs than an approach that relies primarily on “back end” rebate maximization.

The Legislative Budget and Audit Committee of Alaska sought information and analyses with regard to other states’ experiences with Medicaid reform and expansion initiatives. This report describes opportunities for Medicaid savings and to reduce pharmacy costs. As well as recommendations for contracting, incorporating employment supports, improving and monitoring access to care, and reducing unnecessary emergency department utilization.

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