MID­WEST Hos­pi­tals balk at Iowa’s pro­posed $37 mil­lion Med­i­caid cut

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Vir­gil Dickson

Iowa is seek­ing fed­eral per­mis­sion to slow the pace of en­rollees en­ter­ing its Med­i­caid pro­gram via a new waiver re­quest. The move is ex­pected to save the state nearly $37 mil­lion an­nu­ally but puts hos­pi­tals at fi­nan­cial risk, ac­cord­ing to the state’s hospi­tal as­so­ci­a­tion.

Specif­i­cally, Iowa is seek­ing to end an Af­ford­able Care Act pro­vi­sion that al­lows peo­ple to ob­tain Med­i­caid cov­er­age the day they ap­ply, as­sum­ing the ap­pli­cant qualifies for ben­e­fits. Providers can also bill for ser­vices pro­vided in the three months be­fore the ap­pli­ca­tion, as­sum­ing the pa­tient was el­i­gi­ble dur­ing that time.

Iowa sub­mit­ted the re­quest as an amend­ment to its Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion waiver. The CMS will ac­cept com­ments on the pro­posal through Sept. 7.

Elim­i­na­tion of retroac­tive cov­er­age is ex­pected to re­duce monthly en­roll­ment by 3,344 en­rollees and re­duce an­nual Med­i­caid spend­ing by $36.8 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to a state es­ti­mate.

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