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Texas releases STAR Kids RFP

This week’s second In Focus reviews the Texas STAR Kids request for proposals (RFP), which the Texas Health and Human Services Commission released on May 10, 2024. The STAR Kids Medicaid managed care program provides coverage to children and youth ages 20 and younger with disabilities. Nine plans currently participate in the program, with contracts worth approximately $4 billion annually.  

STAR Kids Overview  

The STAR Kids program operates under the Texas Healthcare Transformation and Quality Improvement Program 1115 demonstration project. To be eligible, individuals must receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and SSI-related Medicaid, participate in the Medically Dependent Children Program (MDCP) Section 1915(c) waiver, live in a community-based intermediate care facility, or participate in an intellectual or developmental disability (I/DD) waiver program.  

Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs) provide acute, behavioral, and long-term services and supports (LTSS) to children in the MDCP program and acute services only to children covered under the other home and community-based services/IDD waivers. 


Texas plans to award contracts to at least two MCOs for each of the 13 service areas (SAs). Each MCO can be awarded up to six SAs.  

MCOs will need to describe reimbursement strategies that incentivize high-quality and cost-effective healthcare while controlling spending and reducing ineffective service utilization in their proposals.  

MCOs must demonstrate progress toward advancing alternative payment model (APM) initiatives within an APM performance framework. MCOs will need to provide a proposed APM and a means of tracking its effectiveness, including implementation of processes that support and incentivize providers to apply value-based care models and reward high performers. 


Technical questions in the proposals are divided into five broad categories, representing a total of 1,800 points. Plans can score up to 2,000 points, including oral presentations (see table below).  


Proposals are due July 11, with awards expected to be made between December 2025 and February 2026. The contract start date is anticipated to begin between December 2026 and February 2027. Contracts will run for six years with three two-year renewal options. 

Current Market

Incumbents CVS/Aetna, Elevance/WellPoint, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, Centene/Superior Health Plan, Community First Health Plan, Cook Children’s Health Plan, Driscoll Children’s Health Plan, Texas Children’s Health Plan, and UnitedHealthcare served 150,000 beneficiaries as of November 2023.

Connect With Us  

Texas has an active Medicaid procurement schedule, with key deadlines and additional developments expected in the coming months. HMA experts in Texas are monitoring these activities as the state works to reprocure all its Medicaid managed care contracts. These programs include the State of Texas Access Reform (STAR) and CHIP for traditional Medicaid members, STAR+PLUS for members who are aged and disabled, and STAR Kids for individuals younger than 20 years old with disabilities. 

Through HMA’s Information Services, subscribers gain access to detailed information about the Texas and other state RFP landscapes and procurement documents, as well as historical data about plan contracts, enrollment, and financials.  

For more information about HMA’s work in Texas and our HMAIS resources contact Stephen Palmer, Alona Nenko, and Andrea Maresca. 

Meet the HMA blog contributors

Stephen Palmer

Stephen Palmer

Managing Principal
Austin, TX
Alona Nenko

Alona Nenko

Senior Consultant
New York, NY
Andrea Maresca

Andrea Maresca, MPH

Managing Director, Information Services
Washington, DC