Federal government reapproves Kentucky HEALTH program for 2019

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) has announced that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved the Commonwealth’s Section 1115 Medicaid waiver known as Kentucky HEALTH (Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health).

CMS provided guidance that the newly approved program can begin as soon April 1, 2019. Accordingly, the PATH (Partnering to Advance Training and Health) Community Engagement component will be rolled out regionally over several months beginning no sooner than April 1, 2019.

“Kentucky HEALTH offers a customized path based on individual needs that will help beneficiaries gain better health, engagement in their communities, improved
employability, and success through long-term independence,” CHFS Secretary Adam Meier said in a news release. “This individualized approach affords flexibility and procedural protections that will ensure Medicaid is able to provide beneficiaries access to services and opportunities, while utilizing a holistic approach to addressing barriers and challenges that affect overall health.”

Stay tuned to Inside Passport and be sure to check the official Kentucky HEALTH website for updates.


Passport Advantage (HMO SNP) will expand into 12 more counties starting in January 2019

Passport Advantage (HMO SNP) is going to be expanding its service area to 12 additional counties, effective January 1, 2019.

PAD logoThe application was approved by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) to expand the Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) Dual Special Needs Plan (D-SNP) to 12 additional counties. Currently, Passport Advantage covers residents of Bullitt, Hardin, Jefferson, and Nelson counties who have both Medicaid and Medicare benefits. Starting January 1, 2019, Passport Advantage will be available to residents of the following counties:

  • Breckinridge
  • Bullitt
  • Carroll
  • Grayson
  • Hardin
  • Henry
  • Jefferson
  • Larue
  • Marion
  • Meade
  • Nelson
  • Oldham
  • Shelby
  • Spencer
  • Trimble
  • Washington

For more information, please go online to passportadvantage.com or call toll-free 1-844-859-6152.

Indiana Gets Federal Approval to Add Work Requirements to Medicaid Program

Following in the footsteps of the Kentucky HEALTH waiver – which was approved in January by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to offer Kentucky Medicaid members the ability to customize a path based on individual needs that will lead to better health, engagement in their communities, improved employability, and success through long-term independence – Indiana recently received federal approval to add a work requirement for adult Medicaid recipients who gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Indiana’s Medicaid expansion began in February 2015, providing coverage to 240,000 people who were previously uninsured. The federal approval extends the program, known as the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP), through 2020, according to an article from Kaiser Health News.

Included in this new plan is a “lockout” provision that could lead to tens of thousands of enrollees losing coverage if they fail to submit in a timely manner their paperwork showing they still qualify for the program.

Like Kentucky, Indiana’s Medicaid waiver’s work requirements, which mandate adult enrollees to work an average of 20 hours a month, go into effect in 2019.


Federal Government Officially Approves Kentucky HEALTH Program for Medicaid Members

KY Health NoticeAs you may have heard, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has officially approved Kentucky’s 1115 Waiver, allowing for the official creation of the Kentucky HEALTH program for certain low-income adults and their families.

The word HEALTH stands for “Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health.” The goal of the program is to offer each beneficiary the ability to customize a path based on individual needs that will lead to better health, engagement in their communities, improved employability, and success through long-term independence.

Passport will be working on many more detailed communications in the coming weeks and months to help our members and providers navigate this transition. In the meantime, everyone is encouraged to review the official state website devoted to Kentucky HEALTH, which includes an overview video, FAQs, and more, online at kentuckyhealth.ky.gov.

Passport will continue to work with the Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services (DMS) and our extensive provider network to operationalize the Kentucky HEALTH program. We will be working with all of our members and the providers in our network to help them understand the changes that will be coming over the next few months. We also encourage all Kentucky Medicaid members to make sure that their address is correct with DMS to ensure that they receive all important communications leading up to the official start of the Kentucky HEALTH program on July 1.


Kentucky Cabinet provides updated information about KY HEALTH program

KY Health NoticeWe are still waiting for official word from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) about Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin’s Section 1115 waiver application proposal, known as KY HEALTH (Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health).

In the meantime, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) Department for Medicaid Services (DMS) has produced a “Kentucky HEALTH Quick Facts”one-pager for all Kentuckians. It is available online on the Kentucky HEALTH website under “additional information.” Also available online is the updated Kentucky HEALTH Overview Presentation and a quick reference Kentucky HEALTH Eligibility Summary.



Governor Bevin Requests Modifications to Kentucky HEALTH Proposal

KY Health NoticeOn Monday, July 3, Governor Bevin’s office formally issued a statement to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), requesting three modifications to the original 1115 Waiver request known as Kentucky HEALTH around three areas: Community Engagement, Member Disenrollment, and Presumptive Eligibility.

The proposed revisions do NOT propose any changes in benefits, cost sharing or delivery system.

There will be a voluntary 30-day public comment period, which will last until August 2 and include two public meetings – Friday, July 14, in Somerset and Monday, July 17, in Frankfort.

For more information, please check out the Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services (DMS) website.


Organization helps Americans understand what Medicaid is all about

commonwealth fund logoMedicaid now covers more than 73 million people, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), making it the nation’s largest insurer. Yet the program is not well understood by the public.

That’s why The Commonwealth Fund put together these five facts about Medicaid:

  1. Nearly 16 million people have gained Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act’s expansions; most had previously been uninsured. A recent Commonwealth Fund survey found that about 60 percent of these newly insured adults were uninsured prior to gaining Medicaid coverage. Half were either uninsured for more than two years or never had coverage.
  2. Most people are satisfied with their Medicaid coverage. A recent Commonwealth Fund survey found that 88 percent of adults are satisfied with their new Medicaid coverage: 77 percent rate it as either good, very good, or excellent.
  3. Medicaid helps people get care and improve their health. About 70 percent of new Medicaid enrollees who’ve used health services said they would not have previously been able to access or afford their care. One study compared adults in two southern states that expanded Medicaid eligibility (Arkansas and Kentucky) to those in Texas, which did not. It found that people in Kentucky and Arkansas had greater access to primary care, were less likely to skip medications due to cost, were less likely to visit the emergency department, and were more likely to say they were in excellent health.
  4. Medicaid provides access to timely care. About two-thirds of adults with Medicaid coverage who tried to find a new primary care doctor found it very or somewhat easy to do so and 59 percent waited two weeks or less to see them.
  5. Medicaid provides comprehensive benefits and financial protection from large medical bills.

The mission of The Commonwealth Fund is to promote a high-performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society’s most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, minority Americans, young children, and elderly adults. For more information, please click here.


Passport Health Plan named the Top Medicaid Plan in Kentucky by National Committee for Quality Assurance once more

Medicaid Rankings GraphicPassport Health Plan has once again been named the top Medicaid plan in Kentucky, rated a 4 out of 5 by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for the second straight year, according to “NCQA’s Medicaid Health Insurance Plan Ratings 2015-2016.”

Each year, NCQA provides updated ratings of health plans across the U.S. These ratings provide consumers with a more accurate picture of how health insurance plans perform in key quality areas. The ratings align with the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Star Ratings of Medicare Advantage plans and give unprecedented importance to health outcomes and consumer satisfaction.

“By focusing on member satisfaction, preventive services, and how we treat chronic and acute conditions, NCQA has once again reinforced what we have known to be true for a long time – Passport Health Plan is a leading model of collaboration and innovation in health care,” said Passport Health Plan CEO Mark B. Carter. “This recognition validates the great results as our staff collaborates daily with our provider partners every day to help Kentuckians live healthier lives.”

A complete list of the ratings can be found at www.ncqa.org/ratings. For more information, please click here.


Governor Bevin officially submits Kentucky HEALTH 1115 waiver proposal to federal government

kyhealthGovernor Matt Bevin has officially submitted the comprehensive “Kentucky HEALTH” proposal – which would transform Kentucky’s Medicaid program – to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

According to a news release, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) announced a comprehensive Section 1115 waiver application proposal for Kentucky that is Helping to Engage and Achieve Long Term Health (HEALTH) as a first step towards the implementation of the plan.

The full Kentucky HEALTH Waiver is available for review by clicking here, and the official federal comment period is expected to begin in early September.

CMS rates hospitals based on safety and performance; no Kentucky hospitals earn top rating

CMS logoThe U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its Overall Hospital Star Ratings this week, rating 3,662 U.S. hospitals from one (low) to five (high) stars to give consumers a simple measure of hospital quality.

Each hospital’s rating is based on 64 measures of safety and performance in seven categories: mortality, safety of care, readmission within 30 days, patient experience, effectiveness of care, timeliness of care, and efficient use of medical imaging.

“These easy-to-understand star ratings are available online and empower people to compare and choose across various types of facilities from nursing homes to home health agencies,” Dr. Kate Goodrich, director of Medicare’s Center for Clinical Standards and Quality, said Wednesday on CMS’s official blog.

Of the 94 Kentucky hospitals that CMS evaluated, 82 were rated, and 12 did not have enough data to generate a rating.

No Kentucky hospital earned a five-star rating.

Sixteen hospitals got four stars:

  • Baptist Health Lexington
  • Baptist Health Louisville
  • Casey County Hospital in Liberty
  • Clark Regional Medical Center in Winchester
  • Flaget Memorial Hospital in Bardstown
  • Greenview Regional Hospital in Bowling Green
  • Hardin Memorial Hospital in Elizabethtown
  • Harrison Memorial Hospital in Cynthiana
  • Marcum and Wallace Memorial Hospital in Irvine
  • Methodist Hospital in Henderson
  • Pineville Community Hospital
  • Joseph Martin
  • Elizabeth Fort Thomas
  • Elizabeth Medical Center North in Edgewood
  • TJ Health Columbia (now only a behavioral-health facility)
  • Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center in Leitchfield

The majority of the Kentucky hospitals rated earned three stars. Twelve hospitals got two stars, while two hospitals – University of Louisville Hospital, where a recent state inspection found problems with nursing, and Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital in Somerset – earned just one star. A comprehensive list of Kentucky hospital CMS ratings can be found by clicking here.

Nationally, CMS gave five stars to 102 hospitals, four to 934 hospitals, three stars to 1,770 and one star to 133. Many hospitals did not produce enough data in the measured areas to warrant a rating.