KS: Time running out for Medicaid switch

By   /   December 6, 2012  /   No Comments

By Gene Meyer | Kansas Reporter

STILL PITCHING: Kansas Medicaid officials are meeting constantly with their federal counterparts to win approval for changes planned Jan.1.

TOPEKA – Just 25 days to go until Kansas aims to launch its new Medicaid plan and there is no federal green light in sight, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s deputies told legislators Thursday.

There is a Plan B, if the federal Department of Health and Human Services and its Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS,  don’t okay Kansas request to turn the health insurance plan for 380,000 low income Kansans over to hired private managed care companies by Jan. 1.

“We’ll turn what operations we can, which don’t need federal waivers, to the MCOs (managed care operators),” Kari Bruffett, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s finance division chief, told members of the Kansas Joint Committee on Health Policy Oversight.

Bruffett did not elaborate on which parts of the approximately $3 billion program could be changed without federal permission. Efforts to learn more weren’t immediately successful.

Bruffett and other Brownback administration officials involved in the conversion effort say they remain hopeful a federal decision will come in time.

“The state continues to meet regularly with CMS,” Bruffett said. “And that’s probably an understatement.”

Contact Gene Meyer at gene.meyer@kansaswatchdog.org

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Gene Meyer