Governor Bevin Files Medicaid Waiver, putting fate of expansion in hands of federal government 

After a comment period where stakeholders were asked for their opinion on the administration’s proposed Medicaid 1115 Waiver, the Governor announced today that the final waiver has been filed with the Cabinet for Health and Human Services (HHS).
Governor Bevin unveiled his proposed 1115 Medicaid waiver on June 22, which in its original form expanded drug treatment and added premium and work/volunteer requirements. The waiver, known as Kentucky HEALTH (Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health) had an extended comment period, three public hearings and the administration received over 1,350 comment submissions before being officially submitted to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell today.  

After the comment period, changes to the waiver submitted Wednesday include exempting the “medically frail” from required premiums and copayments, a 3 month delay for vision and dental changes so participants can build up their “My Rewards” account, and credits given in the “My Rewards” account of individuals who get preventative care for children, pass the GED, and more. 

The revised waiver, which will change the way that Kentucky handles Medicaid Expansion, states that Kentucky HEALTH seeks to: (1) improve the health of members; (2) engage members in the community and prepare them for employment; and (3) provide members the tools to successfully utilize commercial market health insurance and eventually transition off Medicaid.

The administration has said that Kentucky Health, if approved, will allow the commonwealth to continue providing Expanded Medicaid services in a financially responsible way and in turn will ensure better health outcomes.

The Center for Medicaid Services (CMS) has fifteen days to acknowledge the waiver has been submitted correctly. After that, there will be a thirty day comment period, much like what just occurred in Kentucky. Once the thirty days expire, the Secretary of HHS can approve it at any time.

After the original announcement on June 22, 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.”

The full waiver can be seen here.

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