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AmeriHealth dropping Iowa Medicaid coverage raises concerns for Cedar Rapids mother

Unless Iowans choose to switch to another insurance provider, those under AmeriHealth will be switched over to UnitedHealthcare group by the end of the month.

State leaders said they are doing everything they can to ensure a smooth transition for the 215, 000 poor or disabled Iowans impacted by the turmoil in Iowa's Medicaid system.

Behind those staggering numbers are the personal concerns about the potential impacts after AmeriHealth leaves later this month.

Unless Iowans choose to switch to another insurance provider, those under AmeriHealth will be switched over to UnitedHealthcare group by the end of the month.

Karen Muters, adoptive mother of 11 children, said nine of her children have Medicaid through AmeriHealth to cover needs for a variety of intellectual disabilities.

Muter has been worried about health care coverage for her children ever since it became privatized.

"These groups know little about our population and especially our individual needs." said Muters.

She now faces the same concerns after AmeriHealth announced the company's decision to pull out of providing Medicaid coverage.

"To me, its like the other shoe has dropped," she said.

Her family will be one of those 215,000 to transition to UnitedHeathcare group at the end of the month, but she said UnitedHealthcare group still has not notified her.

"We had no idea who we'd be assigned to," she said.

Many families she has talked to in a similar situation say the switch may not cover the same kind of needs, especially for Muters who said she had experience almost not getting coverage for one of her son's medication when she first signed on to AmeriHealth.

Her son, 21-year old Derek, for example, may not receive coverage for certain things he needs for his scoliosis.

"He has specialized shoes. It turns out one of these groups does not pay for these shoes," said Muters.

That group, Amerigroup, is the other options residents have to choose from if they do not want to switch to UnitedHealthcare.

It is also much more than coverage that worries the Muters family. It is how that change will impact her children.

"Maybe they can't see the same doctor that they always have now, and that's going to be disruptive for them," she said.

She also concerned about getting their prescriptions during the transition.

"If our change hasn't happened, pharmacies are going to say, 'well who's going to be responsible for paying this'," she said.

Muters also believes it is only a matter of time before Amerigroup or UnitedHealthcare, the only two other private insurers, decide to pull out of Medicaid coverage.

She hopes state leaders will consider funding Medicaid through the state.

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