Kentucky restoring Medicaid benefits

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Dental and vision benefits are being restored for Kentucky Medicaid recipients, in a reversal by Governor Matt Bevin’s administration.

The coverage was cut of at the start of July following a federal judge’s rejection of Gov. Bevin’s plan to overhaul Kentucky’s Medicaid program.

Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family services released the following statement:

We had hoped for a quick federal re-approval that would allow the transformative
Kentucky HEALTH program to start August 1, avoiding delayed access to services for
beneficiaries and costly system changes. We have been working with CMS on the
details of the re-approval process, including the status of dental and vision benefits, and
have now received updated guidance that CMS will hold a 30-day federal comment and
evaluation period, making it clear that the program will not begin as soon as we hoped.
Under Kentucky HEALTH, some beneficiaries would have been able to use their My
Rewards Accounts to pay for routine vision and dental services. Due to the delay in
implementation of the My Rewards program, there was no legal authority to pay for
these services out of the My Rewards account. In order to mitigate the consequences of
the judge’s ruling, and avoid a prolonged coverage gap prior to the re-approval of
Kentucky HEALTH, we have begun the process to reinstate vision and dental coverage,
as well as non-emergency transportation services, for those whose benefits were
affected by the June 29 court action.
Unfortunately, changing benefits and coverage is not as easy as flipping a single switch.
As Cabinet officials testified, system changes are risky and cannot be made overnight.
The Cabinet has spent the last few weeks working on a temporary solution for restored
benefits to be implemented by August 1. In addition, while dental, vision, and non-
emergency medical transportation eligibility for those in the Alternative Benefit Plan will
not show in the system until August 1, the Cabinet is close to completing a manual
system work-around that will allow payment of claims incurred by any eligible Medicaid
beneficiary for dental, vision, and nonemergency transportation services incurred during
the month of July.
For questions regarding benefits or reimbursable claims for the month of July,
beneficiaries should contact their Managed Care Organization.

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(This story was originally published July 20, 2018)

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