Local health department officials waiting to see full impact of Medicaid dental and vision vision cuts in Kentucky

07/03/2018 10:53 AM

FLORENCE – U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg’s rejection on Friday of Gov. Matt Bevin’s plan to overhaul the state’s Medicaid program by imposing work requirements for some to receive their benefits, and Bevin’s subsequent cutting of dental and vision coverage for 460,000 Kentuckians have some regional health department officials wondering what the full ramifications will be.

Administration officials say the cuts were necessary because the ruling took away the path to provide those services.

Northern Kentucky Health Department Director of Health Lynn Saddler said that for her agency, it’s still business as usual for now.

“For us, we don’t do primary care so we don’t do sicknesses, we don’t do the well child visits,” Saddler said. “Most of our programs are WIC, and women’s health, some vaccinations, although more kids get their vaccinations at their doctors office, so for us, it’s just business as usual.”

Saddler is concerned that the dental and vision coverage cuts will lead to significant issues for those who don’t have coverage.

“Any time someone doesn’t have coverage, it is just much harder to get in and see a provider and get the care that they need, and or they’re going to defer care, until something is really seriously wrong,” Saddler said. So often, the emergency room isn’t going to be able to deal with a dental problem, or if it’s a serious vision problem, something wrong with the eyes or whatever, they’re going to need further care from specialists.”

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