CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Three companies have submitted bids to begin running West Virginia’s foster care system, overrun in the opioid epidemic, by the New Year.

Those companies are UniCare, The Health Plan and Aetna, in some cases with support from other vendors, according to information from the West Virginia Purchasing Division.

The bid deadline, which was originally set for Aug. 13 was extended to last Friday afternoon, Aug. 16.

Under HB 2010, the state Department of Health and Human Resources is required to contract out specialized managed care for children and youth.

The timeline is tight since the start date for managed care is set for Jan. 1, 2020.

Bid evaluations were the next steps.

As of Tuesday morning, state records indicated a bid had not been awarded.

Links to the bids are available via these links (please note length):

The Health Plan, 898 pages

UniCare, 949 pages

Aetna, 1,128 pages

Jeremiah Samples, DHHR deputy secretary, previously said the 3.5 year managed care contract would break down to about $200 million annually.

“It will give foster families some support where they may now find themselves on an island not really sure where to find the most appropriate services for a foster child that’s placed with them,” Samples said earlier this year.

Managed care was one of nine major provisions in HB 2010 addressing different areas of child welfare which came out of the 2019 Regular Legislative Session.