Bevin administration reverses course reinstating dental, vision coverage for expanded Medicaid population

07/19/2018 06:20 PM

UPDATED: After revoking dental and vision coverage for those in the expanded Medicaid population following a federal court decision which struck down the 1115 waiver, known as Kentucky HEALTH, the Bevin administration is now reversing course and reinstating the benefits.

In a statement from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services sent at 5:52pm on Thursday, the administration said they had hoped for a quick re-approval of the program from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid by August 1.

“We have been working with CMS on the details of the re-approval process, including the status of dental and vision benefits, and have now received updated guidance that CMS will hold a 30-day federal comment and evaluation period, making it clear that the program will not begin as soon as we hoped,” in a statement sent from CHFS, which is run by Commissioner Adam Meiner.

Initially the administration struck down the dental and vision benefits citing no mechanism to pay for the expenses, even though that change in mechanism had not been approved by CMS prior to the federal judge’s ruling striking down implementation of the waiver.

Now the cabinet says those benefits will be restored.

“In order to mitigate the consequences of the judge’s ruling, and avoid a prolonged coverage gap prior to the re-approval of Kentucky HEALTH, we have begun the process to reinstate vision and dental coverage, as well as non-emergency transportation services, for those whose benefits were affected by the June 29 court action,” the statement sent Thursday said.

There have been multiple reports that stated even those in traditional Medicaid had been affected by the decision, and had their benefits revoked by some providers; A move the cabinet said was unintentional.

Kentucky Voices for Health said the decision came as Kentuckians spoke up over the cuts, but warned they’re not out of the woods.

“While this announcement comes as a sigh of relief for more than half a million Kentuckians who lost benefits without notice, the threat to Medicaid coverage is not over,” the statement said. “Late today, CMS opened a new Federal comment period in an attempt to re-approve the very same requirements and penalties proposed in the Governor’s 1115 Medicaid waiver that was recently blocked in federal court. Kentucky Voices for Health will again be collecting comments with the hope that state and federal administrators will listen closely to the needs and concerns of Kentuckians and work collaboratively with stakeholders to design a waiver that will truly move Kentucky’s health, economy and quality of life forward.”

Providers will be reimbursed for covering benefits to those who had been excluded by CHFS, according to the news release.

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