After Anthem protest, Judge halts Kentucky Medicaid measures

Frankfort, Ky. —A judge has placed a temporary restraining order on the state of Kentucky to consider a lawsuit related to the awarding of $8 billion in Medicaid contracts.

The suit could eliminate one of the companies that received a Medicaid contract, Molina Healthcare of Kentucky, further jeopardizing a key project in West Louisville.

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd granted Anthem Kentucky Managed Care Plan Inc.’s motion for the order. Anthem filed the lawsuit at the beginning of September after its appeals for the Gov. Andy Beshear administration to reconsider the awarding of five big-dollar contracts to administer Medicaid to well over 1 million Kentuckians.

The defendants are as follows:

  • Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services
  • The Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet
  • Aetna Better Health of Kentucky
  • Humana Health Plan Inc.
  • WellCare Health Insurance of Kentucky
  • Molina Healthcare of Kentucky
  • UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kentucky

The order includes restraining the state from sending notices out to Medicaid enrollees informing them that Anthem is no longer a Medicaid provider. These notices were slated to go out Oct. 1 to inform Medicaid recipients of their options for Medicaid health plans with the start of open enrollment Nov. 2.

Barring further action from Shepherd, the temporary restraining order ends Oct. 30.

“In the present case, this court finds that [Anthem] will suffer immediate and irreparable injury absent injunctive relief,” Shepherd wrote.

The two cabinets and Anthem have not yet responded to request for comment. This story may be updated.

Shepherd’s latest order in the suit, issued Oct. 6, denies motions by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and Long Beach, California-based Molina to limit discovery to specific topics and questions.

Anthem has until Oct. 12 to serve notices and complete depositions for the case. These depositions will include Molina Healthcare executive and former Kentucky state official Emily Parento, a member of the state’s team tasked with scoring responses to a request for proposals for the Medicaid contracts, and a buyer from the Finance and Administration Cabinet.

On May 29, the state awarded five contracts to provide Medicaid benefits to over 1 million Kentuckians. The contracts went to Aetna Better Health of Kentucky, Humana Health Plan Inc., WellCare Health Insurance of Kentucky, Molina Healthcare of Kentucky, and UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kentucky. The awards excluded Anthem and Louisville-based Passport Health Plan. Both protested the award decision.