Bevin administration delays Medicaid changes, pushing back waiver timeline

Because of a large number of comments on a proposed plan to make changes to the state’s Medicaid Expansion program, the administration of Gov. Matt Bevin is pushing back the timeline to submit those proposed changes to the federal government.

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

That timeline has now changed due to a large number of public comments received about the waiver since the proposal was rolled out, according to WFPL.

After the original announcement, it was stated that the administration would be taking public comments and holding three public hearings to discuss the details of the waiver and address any concerns.

It is unclear what changes the administration is looking at making within the waiver based on those public comments.

At a press conference first detailing the specifics of the 1115 waiver, Bevin 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.

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.

Bevin said in June 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.

From the WFPL story:

Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told the state of Indiana that it would not approve a portion of its proposed waiver to lock people out of Medicaid if they did not enroll annually.

HHS also said it would not allow for the removal of retroactive payments — payments to doctors for services rendered during months recipients were not officially on Medicaid. Both of these provisions are also in Bevin’s proposed plan for Kentucky.

After Kentucky submits the waiver to the federal government, there will be another open comment period. During that time, HHS and Kentucky would negotiate.

A final plan will likely be announced seven months to a year from now.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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