Medicaid

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Kentucky’s top health official says the state will cut benefits to Medicaid recipients if a federal court strikes down changes to the program set to roll out on July 1.

Gov. Matt Bevin got permission from the Trump administration to require “able-bodied” Medicaid recipients to pay monthly premiums and prove that they are working, volunteering, a full-time student or trying to find work in order to keep their health coverage.

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On Friday, a U.S. District Judge in Washington will hear arguments in the case against Kentucky’s sweeping Medicaid changes.

A group of 16 Kentucky residents filed suit in January, arguing Gov. Matt Bevin’s changes to the program are illegal. The approved changes, set to take effect July 1, will make many Medicaid enrollees work, volunteer or do other activities for 80 hours a month in order to keep health coverage. Other changes include limiting access to dental and vision services for some, making other enrollees pay premiums and installing lock-out periods for not making those payments.

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A federal judge could decide this week if Kentucky can move forward with changes to its Medicaid program. 

Kentucky was the first state in the nation to receive a waiver from U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  The waiver sought by Governor Matt Bevin’s administration would require able-bodied adults to work or volunteer to maintain their Medicaid coverage.  Enrollees would also pay small premiums and face lockout periods for failing to renew their benefits on time.

Cabinet For Health and Family Services/Screenshot

Ahead of the July 1 start date for changes to Kentucky’s Medicaid program, Governor Matt Bevin has announced a partnership with the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky to help educate enrollees on new requirements and assist some in making mandated payments to keep Medicaid insurance.

The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, which primarily works to push health-related issues through Frankfort and commissions health studies, will create a separate foundation to run the Medicaid outreach.

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Governor Matt Bevin on Thursday appointed Adam Meier as secretary of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, which is responsible for running almost every government-involved health program in Kentucky.

Meier will replace Vickie Yates Brown Glisson, who stepped down earlier this year to run against Representative John Yarmuth in Louisville. The cabinet oversees the adoption system, foster care, child welfare, Medicaid, food assistance, hospital inspections, among others.

Green River Area Development District

A few hundred senior citizens in the Green River region are on a waiting list for home-delivered meals because of tightened state and federal budgets. 

The Green River Area Development District, or GRADD, serves about 1,000 meals a day at senior centers and for in-home deliveries. 

GRADD Associate Director for Aging and Social Services Jennifer Williams said a substantial number of elderly residents who have requested home-delivered meals can’t be served.

Alexandra Kanik

In July, Kentucky will start an experiment with how some low-income residents get their health insurance. The project, known as Kentucky HEALTH, affects a portion of people who have Medicaid coverage.

And this interactive calculator, developed by WFPL News, aims to give Medicaid enrollees and others a targeted look at what will happen to an individuals’ health coverage depending on their family size, income and other factors.

Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital

Starting July 1, some Medicaid enrollees could be fined for going to a hospital emergency room if they end up not actually having an emergency.  The new policy is part of bigger changes to the Medicaid program led by Governor Matt Bevin.

The penalties apply to adults who gained coverage after Kentucky expanded Medicaid, such as adults without dependents, or some parents who are in families that make between 54 and 138 percent of the poverty line.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin has filed a lawsuit in response to a legal challenge over Kentucky’s new Medicaid work requirement.

Kentucky is the first state in the country to require people to work or volunteer in order to keep Medicaid benefits.

Three advocacy groups are suing the federal government on behalf of 15 Kentuckians who are on Medicaid, saying the approval of Bevin’s Medicaid changes violate the Social Security Act.

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Dentist Garth Bobrowski gives away thousands of dollars in free dental care for patients who can’t afford it in his small town of Greensburg, Kentucky.

“Dentists serve patients in their communities in these rural towns because these folks are our folks. We go to church with them, we go to school with them,” Bobrowski said. “So we do it as a service to the community.”


As the Trump administration moves to give states more flexibility in running Medicaid, advocates for the poor are keeping a close eye on Indiana to see whether such conservative ideas improve or harm care.

Indiana in 2015 implemented some of the most radical changes seen to the state-federal program that covers nearly 1 in 4 low-income Americans — including charging some adults a monthly premium and locking out for six months some of those who don't pay their premiums.

Several advocacy groups are suing the federal government on behalf of 15 Kentuckians who are enrolled in Medicaid, saying that Kentucky’s recently approved Medicaid changes violate the Social Security Act.

The approved Medicaid waiver, as the changes are called, will make many Medicaid enrollees work, volunteer or do other activities for 80 hours a month to keep health coverage. It also will limit access to dental and vision services for some, make other enrollees pay premiums and install lock-out periods for not making those payments.

Which Kentucky Counties Benefited Most Under Medicaid Expansion? Here’s A Map

Jan 19, 2018
Alexandra Kanik

Starting this July, Kentucky will start making some Medicaid enrollees work, volunteer, take classes or train for jobs in order to keep health care coverage. Last week, the federal government approved the long-awaited Medicaid waiver that Governor Matt Bevin submitted in the summer of 2015.

The waiver includes several changes to Medicaid, and the bulk of these changes will affect people who received coverage under the expansion of the program made possible by the Affordable Care Act. Here’s how many people in each of Kentucky’s counties fall into that group:

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.

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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.

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