Yost sues health-care giant Centene, saying it charged Ohio taxpayers millions for duplicate Medicaid pharmacy benefits services

The Columbus Dispatch | Darrel Rowland

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is going after a $101 billion corporation that used $20 million in taxpayer money to hire a pharmacy benefits manager to provide services for Medicaid recipients that essentially already were covered by another PBM paid by the state.

In a deal reported by The Dispatch in October 2018 as part of its Side Effects series, Centene Corp’s Buckeye Community Health Plan hired two other Centene companies, Envolve and Health Net, to handle pharmacy benefits — even though Buckeye already had hired CVS Caremark as a pharmacy benefits manager.

Officials said at the time that the “administrator” and “manager” were paid for basically doing the same job. 

The duplication by Buckeye  — one of five managed-care organizations hired by the state to deliver health-care services to the 3 million Ohioans on Medicaid — was the main reason it was charging the state more than twice the per-prescription costs of the other four, a state consultant found.

“Corporate greed has led Centene and its wholly owned subsidiaries to fleece taxpayers out of millions. This conspiracy to obtain Medicaid payments through deceptive means stops now,” Yost said in an emailed statement.

“My office has worked tirelessly to untangle this complex scheme, and we are confident that Centene and its affiliates have materially breached their obligations both to the Department of Medicaid and the state of Ohio.”

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