There are two types of Medicaid in Texas: traditional and STAR. People in both programs get the same benefits. Under the traditional program, individuals get medical care from any doctor or provider who accepts Medicaid. Under the STAR program, the enrollee has one provider who coordinates and manages their care.
The STAR+Plus pilot program is a Medicaid pilot project operating since 1998. It is designed to integrate delivery of acute and long term care services through a managed care system. The project requires two Medicaid waivers--1915(b) and 1915 (c)--in order to mandate participation and to provide home and community services.
The project serves approximately 55,000 SSI aged and disabled Medicaid recipients in Harris County (Houston). STAR+PLUS provides a continuum of care with a wide range of options and increased flexibility to meet individual needs. The program has increased the number and types of providers available to Medicaid clients.
Participants may choose from two health maintenance organizations. Certain participants have a primary care case management option in addition to the two HMO choices. The HMO provides both acute and long term care services. STAR+PLUS Medicaid Only clients are required to choose an HMO and a Primary Care Provider (PCP) in the HMO's network. These clients receive all services--both acute and long term care--from the HMO.
Those also eligible for Medicare choose an HMO but not a PCP because they receive acute care from their fee-for-service Medicare providers. The STAR+PLUS HMO provides only Medicaid long term care services to dual eligible clients. Of the approximately 55,000 STAR+PLUS eligibles in Harris County, about half are "dually eligible" for both Medicaid and Medicare. The program has demonstrated significant savings, but there are no plans currently to expand it.