Ken­tucky seeks stricter Med­i­caid work re­quire­ments

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Vir­gil Dick­son

Af­ter nearly a year of ne­go­ti­a­tions, Ken­tucky Gov. Matt Bevin has sub­mit­ted an amended Med­i­caid waiver re­quest to the CMS that proposes a stricter work re­quire­ment than the state orig­i­nally re­quested.

The orig­i­nal 1115 waiver, sub­mit­ted last Au­gust and dubbed Ken­tucky Health, would re­quire able-bod­ied adults with­out de­pen­dents to work or par­tic­i­pate in job train­ing or com­mu­nity en­gage­ment such as vol­un­teer­ing for at least five hours a week, grad­u­ally in­creas­ing to 20 hours a week af­ter a year.

Amend­ments sub­mit­ted to the CMS last week would, among other things, elim­i­nate the pro­posed ramp-up pe­riod for the work re­quire­ment.

This change mir­rors Ken­tucky’s cur­rent pol­icy for res­i­dents re­ceiv­ing food stamps.

Bevin also sug­gested lock­ing ben­e­fi­cia­ries out of cov­er­age for up to six months if they ob­tain a new job or salary and don’t alert the state so that it can con­firm the per­son is still el­i­gi­ble for Med­i­caid.

Dustin Pugel, a re­search and pol­icy as­so­ciate for the Ken­tucky Cen­ter for Eco­nomic Pol­icy, told re­porters that the change will cause more ben­e­fi­cia­ries to lose their Med­i­caid cov­er­age be­cause many have jobs with vari­able in­come, in­clud­ing re­tail, restau­rant and con­struc­tion jobs. If those peo­ple fail to no­tify the state of their fre­quent changes, they could lose cov­er­age.

Bevin es­ti­mates that th­ese and other ad­min­is­tra­tive changes will re­sult in Ken­tucky Health sav­ing $2.4 bil­lion in fed­eral and state dol­lars over the five-year waiver pe­riod, more than the $2.2 bil­lion in sav­ings stem­ming from the orig­i­nal waiver.

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