Passport Health sign

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Passport Health Plan is “cautiously optimistic” that an increase in Medicaid payments implemented by Gov. Matt Bevin’s health cabinet this week will allow the Louisville nonprofit to remain in business.

In a statement Wednesday, Passport said the rates finalized earlier this week will boost its revenue by about $80 million annually.

“We appreciate that the state has implemented rates more closely reflective of current and rising health costs, particularly in the Louisville region, and we are cautiously optimistic these rates will help provide a path for Passport’s sustainability,” Passport CEO Mark Carter said in the prepared statement.

Passport is the dominant “managed care organization” in the Louisville region, where it provides Medicaid benefits to about 210,000 people through a contract with the state. Passport serves about 315,000 members statewide.

The organization said it hopes to eventually restart construction of its headquarters building and “health and well being campus” at 18th and Broadway in West Louisville -- a project Passport paused in March to save money.

"Our immediate focus remains on returning the plan to financial stability, and we do not currently have a timeline to resume construction at the site,” spokesman Ben Adkins said.

The new Medicaid rates, which provide increases to all five managed care organizations that operate in Kentucky, are effective from April 1 through June 30, 2020.

Cabinet officials have said the rate increases – just like the cuts that Passport last year – were the result of data crunching by an independent actuarial firm working for the state Department for Medicaid Services.

Passport, the only nonprofit of the five Medicaid contractors in the state, has accused the state of trying to put it out of business.

Passport receives nearly $2 billion a year, the vast majority of it from the state for Medicaid.

Passport will continue to seek retroactive payments from the state for the cuts the organization contends were unfairly implemented last year, saying its cash reserves have been "substantially depleted."

The organization will not back down from a lawsuit it filed against Bevin's health cabinet in Franklin Circuit Court in March.

State officials have said the suit has no merit, and they have asked a judge to throw it out.

Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, cotts@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2019 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

Digital Reporter

Chris Otts reports for WDRB.com about business and economic topics, higher education and local / state government. He joined WDRB News in 2013 after seven years with The Courier-Journal. Got a tip? Chris is at 502-585-0822 and cotts@wdrb.com.