CHFS submitted Medicaid dental and vision changes April 23, documents show

07/02/2018 08:45 PM

UPDATED: The Cabinet for Health and Family Services, operating under the leadership of Gov. Bevin has stopped providing dental and vision coverage for those under Medicaid expansion on Sunday; the paperwork to make the transition official before the ruling opens a window into how changes for the benefits are still underway.

On April 23, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services submitted paperwork with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to transition dental and vision coverage under the “My Rewards Account” under the 1115 waiver, which was blocked by a federal judge on Friday.

The Cabinet argues the court ruling invalidates the dental and vision coverage for about 460,000 beneficiaries, because of the paperwork filed on April 23 which moved the benefits which had been offer to that population to the program under the 1115 waiver.

Changes to Kentucky’s Medicaid plan take place under what’s known as the State Plan Amendment, or SPA. The state website had not been update to reflect the changes to the SPA as of late Monday night. A spokesman for the cabinet told Pure Politics the SPA had been submitted to CMS, but has not been approved, yet. The State Plan Amendment request had also not been posted for review on the CMS website.

The cabinet spokesman provided Pure Politics a copy of the Medicaid Alternative Benefit request plan dated April 23. Download a copy of that letter here: Document showing original 4-23-18 submit date-1.pdf

Generally, but not always, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services use what’s known as a 90-day rule in reviewing the changes to state plans. The plan is already underway as those in the that population have already lost dental and vision benefits — even as the state seeks approval from the federal government for those changes.

Attorney General Andy Beshear, D-Kentucky, said CHFS in violation of the law.

“Once again, the Bevin administration has proven it cannot or will not follow the law,” Beshear said in a statement. “Health coverage is a basic human right. We must work toward a Kentucky where coverage is more affordable for all of our families and we are carefully monitoring the situation.”

The decision to end the dental and vision benefit comes amid tightening purse strings from the Bevin administration. A Republican Party of Kentucky spokesperson issued a statement on Saturday, saying the state could not afford the budgetary status quo.

The numbers for dental and vision coverage for the population show that the cost is rather small, at less than an extra 0.7 to 1.9 percent for dental, according to a Health Policy Institute Research Brief.

Annually fewer than 10 percent of Medicaid beneficiaries have taken advantage of the coverage, the CHFS argued on Monday.

It’s expected the Bevin administration will appeal the federal judge’s ruling invalidating Kentucky HEALTH, 1115 waiver.

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