KHI News Service

Feds accept KanCare waiver request

New public comment period started

By KHI NEWS SERVICE | August 21, 2012

Officials at the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have accepted Kansas' Section 1115 Medicaid waiver application as complete and today began taking public comments on the proposal.

The public comment period extends through Sept. 20. The state's application and comments can be viewed and posted online here.

The application, if approved by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, would allow the administration of Gov. Sam Brownback to move forward with its plan to remake the state's Medicaid program as KanCare, the governor's plan to hire three insurance companies to manage Medicaid services day-to-day. The Kansas Medicaid program has about 380,000 enrollees and costs about $2.9 billion a year. The federal government covers about 60 percent of the program's costs.

Brownback officials have estimated the KanCare reforms will curb anticipated increases in Medicaid costs by $1 billion over five years while improving health outcomes for the program's beneficiaries.

The state has inked KanCare contracts with three managed care companies: Amerigroup Kansas Inc., Sunflower State Health Plan, which is a subsidiary of Centene, and United Healthcare of the Midwest.

Brownback officials have announced a Jan. 1 start of the KanCare program, pending federal approval of the application waiver, the contracts and related program changes.

Kansas officials first submitted the 1115 waiver application in April but withdrew it in June after learning they had failed to get required input from officials at two Indian Health Services facilities. They refiled it earlier this month.

Brownback officials are holding a second series of informational meetings for Medicaid providers and consumers this week and next in various cities across the state.

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