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Part Of Kentucky Medicaid Will Be Restored As State Tries To Re-Approve Waiver

Photo by Gary Cassel is licensed under CC0.

Kentucky plans to restore vision and dental insurance to nearly half a million Medicaid recipients who lost coverage this month. The state cut coverage after a federal judge’s decision to deny its Medicaid waiver, but the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services said Friday those who lost their coverage should have it back by Aug.1.

It’s a temporary solution while the state seeks to get its Medicaid waiver program re-approved.

Dr. Patricia Adams, an optometrist with Advantage Eye Care in Owensboro, Kentucky, is glad to see coverage restored. “We definitely stand on the side of advocating for complete health and primary care for these able-bodied Medicaid recipients,” she said.

She hopes the changes will be permanent, but said the state’s decision to pay claims from July for uninsured patients creates confusion and raises questions.

“How do we go back and file these claims? Are we going to file these claims? Are they going to get paid?” she said. “How do we hold onto these claims for two more weeks? How do we find the claims that have already come through?”

As part of its waiver program, Kentucky wanted to require some Medicaid recipients to work 20 hours a week. A federal judge struck it down June 29, saying it would lead to gaps in coverage.

State health officials hoped the Medicaid waiver could be re-approved by Aug. 1. But the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ re-approval process includes a 30-day federal comment and evaluation period, “making it clear that the program will not begin as soon as we hoped,” CHFS wrote in a press release.

The comment period ends Aug. 19.