UPDATE: June 30, 2020: Centene will acquire NextLevel Health's 54,000 members in Cook County, home to Chicago, the St. Louis-based Medicaid managed care operator said Tuesday. Centene controls the largest Medicaid market share in Illinois and the transfer will only boost its enrollment. The deal is expected to close in July and is subject to regulatory approvals.
- NextLevel Health, a Chicago-based Medicaid managed care provider, will soon be closing its doors, according to Crain's Chicago Business. NextLevel Health, the Illinois Department of Insurance, and the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services did not respond to Healthcare Dive's requests for confirmation.
- NextLevel is the smallest MCO in Illinois with 56,421 enrollees in Cook County, or just 3% of the more than 2 million members. NextLevel does not serve any other area outside of Cook County.
- The COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the closure, according to Crain's. However, many larger health insurers are weathering the crisis as more Americans put off care. On the other hand, Chicago has been hard hit by the novel coronavirus as one of the outbreak hotspots in the U.S. and NextLevel only serves one county.
The news of the abrupt closure comes nearly two months after NextLevel's failed acquisition by Molina.
Molina was set to acquire the MCO for $50 million in cash, however, in April the deal fell through and Molina blamed NextLevel, noting the insurer's "unwillingness to close pursuant to the terms of the acquisition agreement," which the two had reached in January.
The deal was set to give Molina a foothold in Cook County, home to Chicago, and boost its overall enrollment figures in Illinois.
The Illinois Medicaid managed care market has experienced a number of changes over the past few years as consolidation has torn through the industry.
Most notably, Centene purchased the largest MCO in Illinois, WellCare, which operates Meridian Health plan. In order for the deal to clear regulatory hurdles, it had to sell its IlliniCare plan, No. 3 in terms of enrollment, to CVS Health.
There are currently six Medicaid MCOs operating in Illinois, two of which only serve Cook County — while the others operate statewide. When NextLevel Health closes there will only be five MCOs in Illinois.