MIAMI ( – Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration received a two-week reprieve for a controversial Medicaid pilot program that sent patients into managed-care programs, or HMO’s.

The program was set to expire Sunday, but the AHCA received a 14-day extension on the program from federal Medicaid officials. The AHCA and federal officials are negotiating over the Low Income Pool.

The LIP costs roughly $1 billion a year and was included in the pilot program. It funneled additional money to hospitals and other health providers who take care of uninsured and poor patients.

But, federal money for the program may end in December 2013, which sparked the two-week extension of the program while negotiations between the state and federal governments.

Florida wants to extend the program for three-years. It’s been surrounded in controversy from the beginning because it forced Medicaid recipients in five Central Florida counties into HMO’s.

The AHCA also must submit a proposal to the federal government for a similar program across the state to force Medicaid beneficiaries into HMO’s. The Florida Legislature approved the program in the spring to try to hold down Medicaid costs.


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