Plan for Medicaid expansion to include premiums and expanded drug treatment options

Premium requirements for some of Medicaid population and other factors will be included in a waiver request to change the way Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion is handled, Gov. Matt Bevin and members of his administration announced Wednesday morning.

Watch video coverage of the press conference below and continue reading under the video:

As reported exclusively by The Bottom Line Tuesday, Bevin advisor Mark D. Birdwhistell told members of the Kentucky Chamber  that an 1115 waiver would be rolled out by the administration with the hopes of getting it approved by the federal government by November.

Details of that waiver were announced Wednesday and Bevin said the plan will be available for Kentuckians to read by the end of the day.

Bevin said Wednesday that the goal of the new plan is to keep Kentuckians covered while also making the Medicaid program sustainable and give participants ownership of their insurance. That ownership will come through newly imposed premiums that will range from $1-$15 for those making between 34-138 percent of the poverty rate.

By doing this, Bevin said, there will be a savings of billions of dollars at the federal level on the program and millions at the state level over the next five years, a total of $2.2 billion overall.

According to the Bevin administration, the proposed plan will mirror the state employee health plan, which does not include dental or vision, but recipients can gain back that coverage by undergoing health assessments, doing community volunteer work and more. There will also be other incentive programs included in the plan.

Expanded drug treatment would also be available if the waiver is approved as the administration is asking the federal government to waive the restriction on Medicaid patients for attending mental disease centers. If approved, this will open up more beds in the state for drug treatment.

After the announcement, Kentucky Chamber President and CEO Dave Adkisson released the following statement:

“We commend Governor Matt Bevin and his administration for tackling the challenges of Kentucky’s Medicaid program. The Kentucky Chamber, since the publication of its initial Leaky Bucket report in 2009, has advocated that the Medicaid program be sustainable in order to protect critical state investments in education and other vital programs,” Adkisson said. “The Governor’s proposal will begin an important public dialogue on this issue, and we will be calling on our members to share their views about the best way forward. We believe it is important to have input from all sectors, especially those representing the health care community.”

As Birdwhistell told the Kentucky Chamber, the waiver will undergo a public comment period in the state and see some changes to reflect feedback from Kentuckians and then hopefully be approved by the federal government by September 30.

Bevin said Wednesday that it is up to the federal government to choose whether or not Kentucky keeps the expanded Medicaid population on the rolls saying if the waiver is not approved, the current expansion structure will be dismantled regardless.


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Jacqueline Pitts
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