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Published: Wednesday, 10/1/2003

Medicaid HMO sale awaits nod

The 24,000 Medicaid HMO members of Family Health Plan of Toledo soon may have a new company handling their coverage.

Family Health Plan, a nonprofit subsidiary of Mercy Health Partners, intends to sell its Medicaid plan to Centene Corporation for $6.5 million. Centene is a for-profit company based in St. Louis with 439,000 members in Medicaid HMO plans in five states. Family Health Plan has provided Medicaid HMO coverage in Lucas County since 1986.

The sale needs state approval, which could take several months. Centene officials said they'll name their Medicaid HMO plan the Buckeye Community Health Plan. They said HMO members won't see any immediate coverage changes, and letters will be sent to members explaining the change.

The sale would mean Mercy will soon be out of the insurance business. Family Health Plan had operated a commercial insurance company with 32,000 members. It transferred the administration of that plan to Cleveland-based Medical Mutual of Ohio. That transfer was approved in July.

Mercy had lost a total of $41 million on Family Health Plan since 1996.

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