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Lovelace protests bid rank by HSD

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Lovelace Health Plan on Tuesday protested the way the state Human Services Department evaluated its proposal to manage the care of Medicaid recipients, saying that in rejecting Lovelace’s bid the state will spend $25 million more than necessary over the next five years.

Phillip P. Bisesi, the plan’s general counsel, said in an interview that Lovelace offered the third-lowest price per member per month for managing long-term care and the physical and behavioral health of Medicaid members but was ranked seventh out of seven bidders on HSD’s cost evaluation. “That doesn’t make any sense,” Bisesi said.

HSD awarded contracts, estimated to be worth almost $4 billion, effective Jan. 1 to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico, Molina Healthcare of New Mexico, Presbyterian Health Plan, and UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of New Mexico.

Bisesi said Lovelace’s proposed price was about $25 million less than that of UnitedHealthcare, which offered the fifth-highest price of the seven competing companies. He said the state’s evaluation did not give credit for “any real differentiation on price” among the bidders. Instead the evaluation weighted more heavily the differences in the costs of care for different types of patients, Bisesi said.

Ben Slocum, the plan’s CEO, said Lovelace also objects to HSD’s evaluation of its ability to manage care.

An HSD spokesman declined to comment on the protest.