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Kentucky Awards Medicaid Contracts To Five Companies

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Kentucky has awarded contracts to five companies to provide health insurance to people on Medicaid.

Anthem, Coventry Cares, Humana, Passport and Wellcare each have one-year contracts that began Wednesday with four, one-year renewal options.

Medicaid is a joint state and federal program to provide health insurance to the poor and disabled. Kentucky's program has grown significantly since Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear decided to expand the eligibility requirements under the federal Affordable Care Act. Now more than 1.1 million people, or about a quarter of Kentucky's population, are on Medicaid.

The new contracts have several changes, including requiring all companies to provide statewide coverage, using national standards to determine "medical necessity" and increasing penalties for not complying with the contract.