In a move the state says would save money but cut another 9,000 people from Medicaid, Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration is seeking permission from the federal government for more changes to the state-federal health plan that serves 1.4 million Kentuckians.
The changes, filed this week, revise a sweeping plan to the state’s Medicaid program Bevin proposed last year seeking federal permission, or a “waiver,” to reshape the program in order to impose more costs and personal responsibility on consumers.
The Bevin administration said the changes, aimed largely at “able-bodied” adults, are part of an effort to “provide dignity to individuals” and help them toward “independence from public assistance.”
The changes are not designed to cut anyone from Medicaid, according to Doug Hogan, a spokesman for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Rather, the administration expects Medicaid enrollment to drop as people transition to employer health plans or choose not to participate in requirements such as work or volunteering.
But health care advocates in Kentucky said the changes do nothing to improve the proposal Bevin introduced last year and worsen it in several ways, most significantly increasing from about 86,000 to 95,000 the number of people expected to lose health coverage over the five-year life of the plan.
They say many people will find the new requirements excessively complex and will lose coverage because they are unable to meet them.