medicaid

Andy Chow / Statehouse News Bureau

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Tuesday announced he is submitting a waiver application to the federal government asking for flexibility in Medicaid specifications in order to better combat the coronavirus. That includes such measures as allowing services to be provided at alternative locations and removing staffing level requirements.

A new Pew Charitable Trusts report shows Kentucky’s spending on Medicaid has increased since the recession, but remains below the national average. The study looked at how much Medicaid spending takes up of each state’s revenue.

 

Pew found Medicaid consumed a greater portion of state revenue across the country from 2000 to 2017. Justin Theal, with Pew, said the organization studies the issue for a couple of reasons.


The director of Ohio Medicaid says her agency is dealing with big problems and could face huge fines from the federal government if they’re not fixed. And she’s pointing to the administration of former Gov. John Kasich for creating and not handling those mistakes.

Ohio’s Medicaid program has rolled out a new tool, the Unified Preferred Drug List, that's meant improve communication between patients, doctors and pharmacists.

Governor Andy Beshear will not move forward with former Governor Matt Bevin’s controversial changes to Kentucky’s Medicaid program. Beshear made the announcement Monday, within his first week in office.

Beshear said he’s sending a letter to federal officials to rescind the 1115 waiver that Bevin first submitted back in 2016. He also signed an executive order repealing Bevin’s signature health policy.

“Let me be clear, this Medicaid waiver would have cost Kentucky money, lives and jobs: I believe it would have saved us nothing,” Beshear said. “By every measure, Kentucky’s decision to expand Medicaid in 2014 has been a huge success.”


A little under a half a million Medicaid enrollees in Kentucky may be confused about what recent news about the state’s Medicaid contracts means for their health benefits. About 435,130 Kentuckians currently have Medicaid health insurance through Passport and Anthem, both of which recently lost out on contract renewals.

The companies are still offering coverage now, and people are able to sign up for a plan from either during open enrollment, which ends December 13. But as the situation stands, these two plans won’t offer Medicaid benefits starting July 1; Molina and United Healthcare will take their places. And all that could change depending on decisions by new Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration or the success of the companies’ appeals. 

Passport Health Plan and Anthem Kentucky will no longer offer Medicaid coverage to Kentuckians starting next summer. State officials announced Wednesday that it did not award those providers contracts following the expiration of their current contracts at the end of June 2020.

This year, there are five Medicaid providers who cover 1.3 million enrollees in Kentucky. The state will renew contracts with Aetna, Humana and WellCare. The latter of which — in a change — will be dedicated to children in the foster care system and those in the juvenile justice system.

Molina and UnitedHealthcare will receive fresh contracts for next year.

Advocates are worried about the process that will eventually require thousands of Ohioans in Medicaid expansion to work 20 hours a week or lose their benefits, which the state got permission to impose earlier this year.

On Thursday, Indiana temporarily suspended its Medicaid work requirement program known as Gateway to Work. Like several other states, it faced a court challenge to rules that could have eliminated health insurance for many low-income Hoosiers. 

About 48,000 Kentuckians wouldn’t have met the community engagement requirements — otherwise known as work requirements — if Gov. Matt Bevin’s changes to Medicaid had gone into effect as planned last year. That’s a smaller number than the 95,000 people over five years that were originally estimated by the state to be at risk of losing coverage.

The new estimate comes from a study from the University of Pennsylvania released last month. Those proposed community engagement requirements include making some enrollees work, volunteer, take GED courses or other activities for 80 hours a month to keep Medicaid insurance.

A few dozen people stand on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis to protest the state’s new work requirements. “Hoosier healthcare is under attack,” a protester yells through a megaphone. “What do we do? Stand up fight back.” 

Even though most of Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed changes to Kentucky’s Medicaid system are still locked in a court battle, treatment for drug addiction will be expanded under the program starting July 1.

A US District Court judge has thrown out Medicaid work requirements in two states, saying they are arbitrary and capricious.  Ohio is now reviewing its plan to impose work requirements on people in Medicaid expansion, which was just approved by the federal government two weeks ago.

cincinnati edition
Jim Nolan / WVXU

The Kentucky General Assembly wraps-up its session this week. Governor Matt Bevin has already signed dozens of bills into law and issued two vetoes this legislative session.

For a second time in nine months, the same federal judge has struck down the Trump administration's plan to force some Medicaid recipients to work to maintain benefits.

If Kentucky implements new Medicaid rules this summer, hospitals could see their revenue drop by 20 percent.  That’s according to an analysis of hospital finances in states that have approved or pending Medicaid waiver applications. 

According to estimates, about 95,000 Kentuckians over five years could lose health coverage if the state implements Medicaid rules that would require most recipients to work, attend school, or volunteer as a condition of receiving benefits. 

As of last Friday, the state has federal permission to require 20 hours of work per week for many non-disabled people on Medicaid expansion.  The state’s Medicaid director has put a number on how many people might be affected – and how much it might cost to put those requirements in place.

The federal government says Ohio can require non-disabled Medicaid expansion recipients to work 20 hours a week unless they’re caregiving, in job training or college or over 50. One state lawmaker is disappointed, because he wanted that age limit to be higher.

The federal government says Ohio can join the eight other states that have been given permission to impose work requirements on people in Medicaid expansion.

Ohio is among 15 states that have asked the federal government for permission to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients. Ohio’s request would cover people up to age 50, but a state senator has proposed a bill that would go further.

Indiana Medicaid recipients are getting better access to drugs for treating hepatitis C,  a change triggered by a class-action lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Indiana Medicaid Begins Work Requirement Program

Feb 4, 2019

Indiana launched a new work requirement program through Medicaid on the first of the year.  It’s called “Gateway to Work” and is billed as a community engagement opportunity to help connect people with better employment opportunities.

But some worry the changes will result in Hoosiers losing health insurance.

A new report by a coalition of social service groups says state leaders need to invest in families, Ohio’s seniors and the poorest in the state when they approve the next two-year state budget. 

adam Meier
Scren Grab / YouTube

Kentucky’s top health official says the state is moving forward with changes to its Medicaid program, including a requirement that some enrollees work, attend school or volunteer to keep coverage. The Trump administration again approved the state’s new eligibility rules last week.

A number of states have tied Medicaid coverage to work requirements. But legal challenges have followed — a sucessful attempt to stop the program in Kentucky, an ongoing lawsuit in Arkansas and possibly more to come.

Indiana suspended a Medicaid policy that locked participants out of coverage for failing to confirm their eligibility for health care with the state.

The Ohio Department of Medicaid announced that Medicaid will begin covering more medications to help with drug withdrawal symptoms, beginning in January.

The number of people who gained insurance because of the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare, was the largest in rural areas and small towns across the country. And Kentucky saw one of the biggest gains in health insurance in its small towns and rural areas.

According to a new report out this week from the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University, prior to 2008 about 35 percent of people nationwide didn’t have health insurance; now, only about 16 percent of people don’t have coverage.

Hundreds of mental health and addiction counselors could lose their jobs because the state is now requiring criminal background checks for people who provide Medicaid services. Some of those counselors and their employers who’d be affected by the new policy are asking state lawmakers to step in.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

The director of Ohio's Medicaid Department, Barbara Sears, stopped in Cincinnati Tuesday to talk about a recently released study on the benefits of Medicaid expansion in the state.

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