Kentucky Medicaid waiver approved by federal government

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved Kentucky’s Section 1115 Medicaid waiver, known as Kentucky HEALTH (Helping to Engage and Achieve Long-Term Health).

The goal of Kentucky HEALTH is to improve the health of its participants, strengthen Medicaid’s long-term fiscal sustainability, and promote personal responsibility for health and well-being.

The newly approved program can begin April 1, 2019, according to guidance by CMS.

In a press release, Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Adam Meier said Kentucky HEALTH “offers a customized path based on individual needs that will help beneficiaries gain better health, engagement in their communities, improved employability, and success through long-term independence.”

The program will allow beneficiaries to earn rewards for healthy activities through “My Rewards Account,” introduce premiums for some individuals to ensure they have a stake in their health care services, and require some adults, who are able, to participate in community engagement activities, leading to improved long-term health and increased career opportunities.

The program also includes expanded access to Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment for Medicaid beneficiaries, a fully-funded $1,000 Deductible Account to help beneficiaries track their healthcare spending and show the cost of healthcare services, and the Kentucky Integrated Health Insurance Premium Payment (KI-HIPP) program that allows Medicaid beneficiaries to receive assistance in paying for private health insurance.

Estimates project the program will save the Medicaid program around $2 billion during the five-year demonstration period.

Earlier this year, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce offered support for the waiver during the federal comment period commending the innovative approach to make the system sustainable in order for Medicaid recipients to continue to receive benefits.

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