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Medicaid Managed Care Delivers Value and Efficiency to States

June 2017
Full report

Findings from the literature demonstrate that Medicaid managed care improves quality, enhances access to care and individuals’ experience, and helps states manage costs. Medicaid managed care offers a successful foundation on which to build future Medicaid reform efforts.

Today, more than 60 percent of Medicaid beneficiaries are enrolled in managed care plans, and states continue to expand enrollment in plans. Among other goals, states are turning to managed care to improve care for high-cost, high-need populations such as individuals who need long-term services and supports. Enrollment in managed care also grew following the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicaid to low-income working age adults.

As federal and state policymakers consider approaches to reform and modernize the Medicaid program, it is important to explore whether existing managed care programs have delivered the expected innovations, improvements in outcomes, and cost savings that states expected.


  • Medicaid enrollment and spending, managed care vs. fee-for-service
  • Quality and beneficiary satisfaction
  • Access to care and beneficiary experience
  • Managing Medicaid costs

Related Public Policy Research

Continuity of Medicaid Coverage Improves Outcomes for Beneficiaries and States

Continuous coverage improves beneficiaries’ health, lowers spending per person, and eases administrative burden for states. Those with disruptions are likelier to have unmet medical needs.

June 2018

The Impact of Medicaid Quality Rating Systems

Little is known about how quality tools impact managed care but the experience of other programs suggests that as tools evolve, their influence on behavior and plan quality could grow.

October 2016

Hidden Benefits: The Value of Medicaid Managed Care Networks

Medicaid MCOs employ an array of network enhancing strategies—such as technology-based innovations and value-based payment—to increase access to and quality of care for beneficiaries.

September 2015