Medicaid

The insurance program that provides health insurance to almost a third of Kentuckians — Medicaid — will soon change. Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin is awaiting approval from the federal government on his proposed reforms. But even if Bevin gets everything he asked for, Medicaid providers and advocates say there are still a lot of unknowns to how Kentucky will manage the program.

In Kentucky, Medicaid used to just cover pregnant women, children or people who were disabled or living in poverty. Under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, former Governor Steve Beshear expanded the insurance program to include people living outside of poverty – up to about $33,000 a year for a family of four. The program now covers about a third of Kentuckians, many of whom got on Medicaid through the expansion.

Creative Commons

Despite numerous failed legislative attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration is rolling out regulatory changes that are likely to clear the way for Kentucky’s plan to remake its Medicaid system.

At a National Association of Medicaid Directors conference in Arlington, Virginia on Tuesday, Trump administration official Seema Verma said the government will give states more freedom over their Medicaid programs, including allowing states to require Medicaid enrollees to work or volunteer to keep their coverage.

ky.gov

Kentucky regulators say they’ll go to court to keep from handing over documents related to the state’s plan to reconfigure its Medicaid insurance program. But legal experts say Kentucky’s argument — that it doesn’t have to turn over emails and other communications because they are preliminary and about negotiations — doesn’t hold up.

Since they were first proposed in August 2016, Gov. Matt Bevin’s planned changes to Medicaid have been controversial. Medicaid is the federal program for disabled and low-income people — a program which Kentucky expanded under the Affordable Care Act and previous Gov. Steve Beshear.

J. Tyler Franklin

Amanda Mills has insurance through Kentucky’s expanded Medicaid program. She also has a full-time job working with homeless people in Louisville.

In January, she’ll lose Medicaid coverage because she makes $1,000-a-year more than the threshold, which is about $28,000 per year. And, she says, she won’t be able to afford the insurance her employer offers, plunging her into a familiar gap created by the Affordable Care Act where people earn too much for Medicaid but too little for a subsidy to assist with premiums.

Thinkstock

A former dentistry professor says members of Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration pressured University of Kentucky officials to fire him after he wrote a critique of the governor’s plan to reshape the state’s Medicaid system.

Dr. Raynor Mullins, who worked at UK for more than 40 years, filed the suit in federal court against UK Healthcare Vice President Mark Birdwhistell, UK College of Dentistry Dean Stephanos Kyrkanides and an unknown member of Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration listed as “John Doe.”

Wikimedia Commons

Medicaid advocates, family members and policy experts gathered in Frankfort Monday to weigh in on proposed changes to the state-run insurance program for low-income and disabled people.

Kentucky’s Medicaid program was expanded by former Gov. Steve Beshear under the Affordable Care Act. But current Gov. Matt Bevin has said the costs associated with the program aren’t sustainable, and is asking the federal government to approve a plan to scale it back.

Flickr/Creative Commons

The first of two public hearings seeking input on Governor Bevin’s Medicaid waiver was held Friday in Somerset.

Governor Bevin wants to overhaul the Medicaid program, in hopes of moving more people to private insurance coverage. Bevin said Kentucky can’t afford to pay for everyone that gained coverage when Medicaid was expanded.

 

The new plan calls for Medicaid recipients to pay premiums of up to $15 a month. Beneficiaries would be required to work or volunteer for 20 hours a week in order to keep their benefits. Those requirements don’t apply to everyone.

Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons

Vice President Mike Pence will be in Lexington Wednesday as part of the White House’s campaign to roll back the Affordable Care Act.

According to a news release, Pence will participate in a listening session with business leaders who say they’ve been hurt by Obamacare and then hold an invite-only event at Bryant’s Rent-All, an equipment rental company.

The event comes as Kentucky has once again become a key battleground in the fight over the health care law.

Medicaid Changes Could Save Money; Others to Lose Benefits

Jul 4, 2017
Creative Commons

Proposed changes to Kentucky's Medicaid program could cost another 9,000 vulnerable people their health coverage while possibly saving taxpayers an extra $27 million.

Those are both projections for Republican Gov. Matt Bevin's updated plan to overhaul the state's Medicaid program, the joint federal and state health coverage program for the poor and the disabled.

Bevin asked the federal government last year for permission to overhaul the program. Monday, Bevin updated that proposal. State officials estimate the changes would increase taxpayer savings to $358 million by 2021. But it means a total of 95,000 people —9,000 more than originally proposed_would likely lose their Medicaid coverage in a mostly poor, rural state where more than a quarter of the population relies on the taxpayer-funded program to pay for their health care.

GOP's Health Care Rollback Collides with the Opioid Epidemic

Jun 20, 2017
Flickr/Creative Commons/Dimitris Kalogeropoylos

The Republican campaign to roll back former President Barack Obama's health care law is colliding with the opioid epidemic. Medicaid cutbacks would hit hard in states deeply affected by the addiction crisis and struggling to turn the corner, according to state data and concerned lawmakers in both parties.

The central issue is that the House health care bill would phase out expanded Medicaid, which allows states to provide federally backed insurance to low-income adults previously not eligible. Many people in that demographic are in their 20s and 30s and dealing with opioid addiction. Dollars from Washington have allowed states to boost their response to the crisis, paying for medication, counseling, therapy and other services.

Wikimedia Commons

If Republicans in Congress move forward with their plan to replace Obamacare, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin's ideas for the future of the program could also go up in smoke.

About 440,000 people were added to the state’s Medicaid rolls as a result of former Gov. Steve Beshear’s executive order to expand the program in 2013, making more people eligible for benefits under the Affordable Care Act.


public domain

Kentucky and other Medicaid expansion states are seeing an increase in overall emergency room visits.

Still, fewer uninsured people are going to the ER under the Affordable Care Act.

In 2014, states with expanded Medicaid access saw an 8.8 percent increase in the share of ER visits covered by Medicaid, according to a study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine. The share of visits by those without insurance decreased by 5.3 percent. Those with private insurance remained the same in expansion states.

Creative Commons

Louisville Congressman John Yarmuth is asking the federal Department of Health and Human Services for an update on Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s Medicaid expansion changes.

Yarmuth wrote the letter Thursday.

Last August, Bevin proposed several changes for Kentuckians on Medicaid — both those that got their insurance through the Medicaid expansion and make up to 138 percent of the poverty level, and traditional Medicaid enrollees, which includes people living in poverty.

Kentucky ranks 34th in the nation in overall child well-being, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The 2017 Kids Count Data Book shows the commonwealth ranking even lower in the category of economic well-being at 39th among states. Terry Brooks with Kentucky Youth Advocates says poverty remains the state’s most persistent challenge for children.

"Unless and until we begin to attack poverty in an intentional and long-term manner, we're just nibbling at the edges of every other sector connected to kids," Brooks told WKU Public Radio.

Kentucky Spent $3.7M On Gunshot Victim Care In 2014

Feb 1, 2017
Thinkstock

The average cost of a gunshot victim’s emergency room or hospital stay in Kentucky was $10,000 in 2014. That’s according to a report out from the Urban Institute.

The total costs of these stays was $3.7 million, with the majority coming from inpatient stays.

And most of that care was provided by a government program. In 2014, the majority of gunshot victims in Kentucky hospitals — 68 percent — had their care paid for by public insurance like Medicaid. In 2010, 54 percent of gunshot victims had no insurance at all. Kentucky expanded its Medicaid program to childless adults in 2014 as part of the Affordable Care Act.

Pages