ASHLAND A recent study shows that 86,000 to 136,000 Kentuckians would lose Medicaid benefits within the first year of the implementation of the state's Medicaid work rules.
The study by The Commonwealth Fund, a New York City-based foundation, is based on an estimate that the state's "community engagement" requirements for "able-bodied" beneficiaries would affect up to 331,000 of the approximate 450,000 on the expanded version of Medicaid. The study also estimated that there would be 26 to 41 percent reduction in benefits to the population.
Kentucky is among nine states featured in the study and is shown as possibly being near the top for losing the most people from its Medicaid rolls.
According to kymedicaidtracker.com, 32.8 percent (15,487) of those in Boyd County are covered by Medicaid as of April. The total number of those eligible for Medicaid expansion benefits is 5,800.
In Carter County 35.9 percent (9,682) are covered, with 3,641 eligible for Medicaid expansion benefits. In Greenup County 29.1 percent (10,270) are currently covered, with 3,666 eligible for Medicaid expansion benefits.
Last January Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin announced that Kentucky was the first state given authority to require “able bodied adults” on Medicaid to work in exchange for health coverage.
The Daily Independent previously reported that under the 1115 waiver (Kentucky HEALTH), residents who are covered under the Medicaid expansion authorized by the Affordable Care Act will be required to work 20 hours a week or volunteer in their communities for that many hours each week or receive the equivalent number of hours of education.
The Medicaid income limit is 138 percent of the federal poverty line— $17,236 for an individual and $35,535 for a family of four.
The work requirements were supposed to go into effect last July but were blocked by U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg. The Trump administration then approved the requirements again for the second time last November. The changes were set to be implemented this April but were once again blocked by Boasberg in March.
A post on the Kentucky HEALTH website states that the program “is not live and does not have an anticipated start date.”
Kevin Compton, communications and advocacy specialist for Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, said the organization does not have a stance on the work requirements. Kings Daughter's Medical Center Integrated Communications Director Tom Dearing said the hospital also did not have a comment on the requirements.
Kentucky Medical Association past president Maurice J. Oakley told The Daily Independent the KMA has not formed an opinion on the work rules, adding they would have to wait and see what will develop.
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