Wis­con­sin Med­i­caid pro­posal in­cludes drug tests, pre­mi­ums

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - — Shelby Livingston

Wis­con­sin last week un­veiled plans to over­haul Med­i­caid by re­quir­ing mem­bers to pay in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums and un­dergo a drug screen­ing—mak­ing it the first state in the na­tion to do so. State health of­fi­cials said they will sub­mit a waiver re­quest to the CMS on May 26, fol­low­ing pub­lic com­ment.

The pro­posal looks a lot like the con­tro­ver­sial Healthy In­di­ana 2.0. In­di­ana state of­fi­cials are ac­cused of us­ing mis­lead­ing and in­ac­cu­rate in­for­ma­tion to boost the ben­e­fits of their pro­gram and jus­tify an ex­ten­sion and ad­di­tional fed­eral fund­ing.

In Wis­con­sin’s pro­posal, child­less adults would pay monthly pre­mi­ums rang­ing from $1 to $10 per house­hold based on in­come. Those with house­hold in­comes up to 20% of the fed­eral poverty level would be ex­empt from pay­ing a pre­mium.

Mem­bers who un­der­went a health risk assess­ment and en­gaged in “healthy be­hav­iors” would also re­ceive breaks, though the re­quire­ments for those be­hav­iors weren’t out­lined.

Wis­con­sin’s drug test­ing would di­rect mem­bers who test pos­i­tive to treat­ment. Mem­bers who refuse to take the test couldn’t re­ceive ben­e­fits for six months.

Wis­con­sin Repub­li­can Gov. Scott Walker, who has re­fused to ex­pand Med­i­caid, sent a pub­lic let­ter to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in De­cem­ber ask­ing for per­mis­sion to drug test ap­pli­cants on food stamps.

In 2015, Walker’s administration sued to force the Obama administration to ap­prove drug test­ing for those ap­pli­cants. The court tossed out the law­suit.

Al­most 797,000 peo­ple are en­rolled in Wis­con­sin’s Med­i­caid pro­gram. Of those, 147,000 are child­less adults who would be af­fected by these pro­pos­als.

Walker

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