(LOUISVILLE, Ky, August 24, 2016): Susan Zepeda, president and CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, made the following statement regarding the revised Kentucky HEALTH Medicaid Waiver proposal submitted by the Governor’s office to the federal government today:
“The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is closely reviewing the revised proposal and evaluating it through the lens of our original comments. The proposed changes could have a substantial impact on low-income Kentuckians, providers, and the state as a whole.
“On a first reading of the proposal, we find that some of the concerns expressed in our initial comments have been addressed, while others remain. We are pleased that the term ‘medically frail’ is better defined and that this population is excluded from paying premiums and copayments. We are also pleased to see that there is a cap for family premiums.
“In regard to work requirements, we are glad to see that individuals who are already working more than 20 hours per week will not be required to perform community service or other job training activities as a condition of continued enrollment. Additionally, we support the exclusion of primary caregivers of disabled adult dependents from the community engagement and employment requirement, and the inclusion of a provision that primary caregivers of elderly parents will count toward that requirement. Further, we applaud the administration’s inclusion of GED testing costs.
“We remain concerned, however, about a number of elements that are unchanged in the proposal, including the exclusion of dental and vision benefits in the standard benefits package, anticipated significant drops in Medicaid enrollment, elimination of retroactive eligibility, lock-out periods, loss of non-emergency transportation, and re-enrollment requirements and penalties for those who fail to pay mandated premiums.
“We encourage stakeholders to review the documents the state has prepared and to submit public comments during the federal comment period.”
About the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
Since the Foundation opened its doors in 2001, it has invested more than $26 million in health policy research and pilot project grants across the Commonwealth. Funded by an endowment, the mission of the Foundation is to address the unmet health care needs of Kentuckians by developing and influencing health policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Follow the Foundation on Twitter and on Facebook, or visit our website at www.healthy-ky.org.
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Bonnie J. Hackbarth