Legislature funds medical insurance for Kentuckians who make an excessive amount of to qualify for Medicaid but too little to purchase private coverage

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Kentucky is benefiting from a little-used provision of the 2010 Patient Protection and Reasonably priced Care Act to create a health-insurance plan for Kentuckians who make an excessive amount of to qualify free of charge Medicaid coverage but not enough to pay for personal insurance. The policy, often known as the essential health program, was included within the ACA, but only Minnesota and Recent York took advantage of it. Kentucky and Oregon are actually pursuing this selection, Megan Messerly reports for Politico.
The move comes “amid growing concern that the looming end of the Covid-19 public health emergency could end in tens of millions of individuals being kicked off Medicaid and fear that Obamacare subsidies that helped tens of millions of individuals buy coverage will expire at the top of 2022,” Messerly writes.

The Kentucky General Assembly, led by supermajorities Republicans, approved $4.5 million in state funds and $4.5 million in federal funds within the 2022-24 state budget to establish this system.

Messerly reports that not less than 37,000 Kentuckians will likely be eligible to enroll in this system’s plans as soon as next yr.

A basic health program offers low-cost insurance for individuals who make as much as twice the federal poverty level – about $55,000 for a family of 4 – and don’t qualify for Medicaid. Recent York and Minnesota offer plans with little or no premiums, co-pays or deductibles.

While the expansion of Medicaid under the ACA to Kentuckians making as much as 138% of the federal poverty line has been criticized by some Republican legislators, this program offers more appeal to them since it is seen a a way for low-wage employees to work more without fear of losing their medical insurance because they might now not qualify for Medicaid.

“Kentucky will not be known for our great health metrics, and we’re doing our greatest to actually address among the gaps and the barriers within the system,” Rep. Kim Moser, R-Taylor Mill, told Messerly. “We all know that that is the group of people that churn out and in of health coverage.”

Kentucky health advocates have pushed for a basic health plan for years and it’s finally gaining some traction.

The plan got here form a piece group the legislature created to explore establishing a “bridge” insurance plan. The group said a basic plan would “allow individuals who would otherwise lose their health care coverage through Medicaid to find a way to just accept work and pay raises and take away the disincentive to just accept increased pay or work.”

Emily Beauregard, executive director of Kentucky Voices for Health, told Messerly, “It’s clear to see where the gaps lie, and which populations technically have coverage options, but not coverage options that work for them.”

A spokesperson for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services told Messerly that  the goal is to enroll people this fall for coverage starting in January.

Critics of the plan say states should deal with making coverage in federally subsidized plans (“Obamacare”) cheaper. Kaiser Permanente told the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that the essential plans could undermine the Obamacare program, and hospitals are fearful concerning the plans’ reimbursement rates.

The legislature also recently passed House Bill 708, sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Dixon, R-Corydon, that requires the health cabinet to develop a proposal for the establishment of a “advantages cliff” calculator and a web-based job posting database to assist Kentuckians who need to explore the impact on their medical insurance advantages of taking a job that gives extra money.

A profit cliff is the lack of eligibility for public assistance because of a wage increase. The law also creates the Advantages Cliff Task Force to look at the impacts of the cliff on workforce participation, employment, wages and other employment issues.

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Written by Melissa Patrick. Cross-posted from Kentucky Health News.

Kentucky Health News

Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based within the School of Journalism and Media on the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

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