Cynthia MacDonald

Cynthia MacDonald

DAVENPORT - UnityPoint Health and Amerigroup announced Sunday they have agreed to a short-term extension of their Medicaid Health Plan contract, avoiding for now a termination that would affect 54,000 patients.

UnityPoint had warned patients in November about the prospect that it might not renew its deal with Amerigroup, one of the two remaining managed care companies handling the Medicaid program in Iowa.

In a joint news release Sunday afternoon, the companies announced the extension and said they expect a final decision by Jan. 12.

“UnityPoint understands the frustration not having a decision by the year-end deadline may cause our patients, but believes we will have a decision in early 2018,” Sabr Rosener, vice president of government and external affairs for UnityPoint, said in the statement.

The prospect of a contract termination had raised the possibility that thousands of Iowans would have to switch health care providers.

However, the statement issued Sunday said people covered by Amerigroup don’t need to make any changes at this time to continue getting care at UnityPoint. It said formal notification would be given to people once a decision is reached.

“We are committed to providing members with access to a comprehensive network of health care providers and we’re pleased that our members can continue to receive care from UnityPoint Health without disruption while we keep working to finalize a new contract,” Cynthia MacDonald, the president of Amerigroup Iowa, said in the statement.

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