Kansas Medicaid Insurer Aetna On Even Thinner Ice With State Officials


By Celia Llopis-Jepsen – Kansas News Service

TOPEKA ― Aetna remains in hot water with the state of Kansas, which recently threatened to cancel the company’s Medicaid contract.

In late July, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment gave Aetna Better Health 10 days to resolve a laundry list of long-running problems.

But on Tuesday, the agency said the insurer’s reply doesn’t cut it, “nor does it present a clear path to compliance.”

Aetna gets another shot at fixing what health care providers describe as chronic issues with payment, among other concerns.

Aetna provides health insurance to around 100,000 Kansans under KanCare, the state’s privatized Medicaid system. It’s one of three companies with contracts to do so, and replaced one of the previous insurers in January.

The state health department did not provide a copy of Aetna’s compliance plan, explaining it is not yet a public document in its current unfinalized state. But in a cover letter that Aetna filed with the state on Aug. 7, says the company says it has fixed several issues and that many of the other problems “are well on their way to compliance.”

State health officials plan to meet with Aetna leaders, who asked in their letter for an in-person conversation in the event that Kansas remains unsatisfied. As for setting a new deadline for Aetna, officials intend to meet with company leaders first.


Complaints against Aetna include that the company doesn’t reimburse correctly or on time. Providers say they sometimes don’t get paid because Aetna demands advance permission for certain basic procedures. They also complain that the company hasn’t put together a complete directory of physicians and specialists that it covers.

The state’s written complaint to Aetna in July said that doctors and others struggle to secure provider credentials from the insurer, and that discrepancies in Aetna’s records mean Kansas can’t judge the adequacy of the company’s provider network for Medicaid recipients.

Aetna didn’t grant requests last week and this week for interviews, but said in an email that it will work with Kansas to “enhance” its corrective plan and “add a greater level of detail.”

Celia Llopis-Jepsen reports on consumer health and education for the Kansas News Service. You can follow her on Twitter @Celia_LJ or email her at celia (at) kcur (dot) org. The Kansas News Service is a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio focused on the health and well-being of Kansans, their communities and civic life.

Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished by news media at no cost with proper attribution and a link to

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

Share post:

- Advertisement -

Related Headlines

- Advertisement -

Most Viewed

From Sunflower State Radio

Kansas City Chiefs Announce Preseason Game Dates & Times

The Kansas City Chiefs today announced the dates and...

Sporting KC announces new time for August 21 home match against Portland Timbers

Sporting Kansas City announced today a new time for...

Flood Watch Issued For Portion Of The KNDY Listening Area

The National Weather Service issued a Flood Watch for...

Kansas legislative session closes with pair of overrides, calls for better drug policy

by Noah Taborda, Kansas Reflector May 23, 2022 TOPEKA —...