DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa agency is delaying plans to add a third company back into the state's privatized Medicaid program.

Iowa Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven says the agency will hire another company to offer Medicaid coverage in 2019. The agency originally said such a company would start next July.

Foxhoven says the agency will begin its search for a company soon, but the 2019 delay ensures adequate time.

Foxhoven provided the information Tuesday to a health care council. It comes one week after AmeriHealth Caritas announced it will drop Medicaid coverage in Iowa at the end of the month after failed contract negotiations with the state. Two other private insurance companies, Amerigroup and UnitedHealthcare, will continue Medicaid coverage.

Foxhoven says UnitedHealthcare will take over coverage beginning Dec. 1 from AmeriHealth for about 215,000 patients. They also can transfer to Amerigroup.