AP, September 10, 2010

Two for-profit companies have been selected to run a managed care program in Illinois that will change how disabled and elderly public aid recipients in six counties get their health care, officials announced today.

Illinois' Medicaid agency awarded contracts to Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna Inc. and Centene-IlliniCare, an affiliate of St. Louis-based Centene Corp.

Starting in January, an estimated 40,000 adults on Medicaid will see their medical care more closely coordinated by one of the companies. The program will affect patients in DuPage, Kane, Kankakee, Lake, Will and suburban Cook counties.

Managed care, which grew in the 1990s as states tried to rein in budget-busting health care costs, is now the dominant system in Medicaid, according to the National Academy for State Health Policy. Illinois has lagged behind other states in adopting managed care.

The state expects the new program to save taxpayers nearly $200 million in its first five years.

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