Medicaid enrollees to have KanCare packets by month's end

Packets being mailed at pace of more than 10,000 per day through remainder of November, officials say

0 | KanCare, Medicaid-CHIP

— Assignments to a KanCare health plan are being mailed now at the rate of more than 10,000 per day to the state's Medicaid enrollees, health officials said today.

All people in the Kansas Medicaid program, of which there are about 380,000, should have received their enrollment information by the end of November, according to Kari Bruffett, head of the Health Care Finance Division at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

"Between 10,000 and 15,000 (information packets) are going out each day," Bruffett said Wednesday in a telephone conference call with Medicaid service providers. "Our intention by the end of November is to have all those packets out and in the hands of people who need to make a choice about what KanCare plan they want to be enrolled in."

People receiving the packets will find they already have been "auto assigned" to one of the three plans. Those who prefer one of the other two plans will have until about the end of March to make the change. The plans are Sunflower State Health Plan, Amerigroup and United Healthcare.

Meanwhile, state officials said in public meetings held Tuesday and Wednesday, that they have been talking with federal officials about the conditions Kansas must meet to secure approval of its so-called Section 1115 waiver application so that KanCare can be launched on Jan. 1.

Public release of some of the details of those discussions suggests a decision from federal authorities on the state's waiver request might come soon, according to people familiar with the federal process. At very least, the disclosures from state officials were more detailed than had been made to date about Kansas' ongoing talks with officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services about the KanCare proposal.

KanCare is Gov. Sam Brownback's plan to move virtually all of the state Medicaid enrollees into managed care plans run by private insurance companies. The change requires approval from U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

On Tuesday, at a meeting the KanCare Advisory Council, Shawn Sullivan, secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, outlined 17 "transition activities" or conditions for the state's home- and community-based Medicaid programs federal officials have called for, if the KanCare plan moves forward.

Among the federal expectations he cited were:

  • The state must have a KanCare ombudsman to field complaints from Medicaid enrollees and providers.
  • Medicaid eligibility must be determined by state officials, not the managed care companies.
  • Plans of care for Medicaid enrollees cannot be reduced for 90 days after KanCare's launch. Subsequent changes in the plans by the insurance companies must be reviewed by state employees.
  • State employees will "ride along" with insurance company care coordinators to see how they do their work.

Bruffett told the council members on Tuesday that when approval of the state's waiver comes it would include "a full set of terms and conditions, which is part of what we're working on right now. It will be a lengthy document."



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