KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Feds Approve Wisconsin Medicaid Cuts

Meanwhile, Kansas applies for waiver to shift Medicaid beneficiaries into managed care plans and Medicaid costs in Kentucky weigh on one insurer.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Feds OK Walker Plans To Cut Medicaid Costs
Federal officials have signed off on plans by Gov. Scott Walker's administration to cut costs in state health programs that will lead to an estimated more than 17,000 people leaving or being turned away. President Barack Obama's administration announced late Friday it had approved the changes after previously requiring the Walker administration to scale back the cuts, which would have originally affected 64,800 people. The changes will cause some adults to leave the program but will shield children from changes originally proposed by the state (Stein, 4/27).

The Associated Press/Kansas City Star: Kansas Confident Feds Will Approve Medicaid Changes
Top Kansas officials expressed confidence Friday that the federal government will allow the state to overhaul its Medicaid program, but critics questioned moving ahead before securing permission. Gov. Sam Brownback's administration has formally applied for a waiver of federal Medicaid regulations that would impede efforts to redesign the state's $2.9 billion-a-year program, which covers health care for the poor, needy and disabled. The application was submitted Thursday to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – a day before other, new rules changed how such requests are handled (Hanna, 4/27).

Kansas Health Institute News: KanCare Waiver Application Completed
Brownback officials need the waiver approved in order to move forward with their plan to shift the state's 350,000 Medicaid beneficiaries into managed care plans operated by three insurance companies. ... The new program would be launched Jan. 1, 2013, assuming the federal approvals are secured and the managed care companies have been certified ready to go. The waiver application included information about the administration's recent agreement to postpone until January 2014 the inclusion in KanCare of long-term services for the developmentally disabled (Shields, 4/27). 

Reuters: Medicaid Costs Weigh On Coventry; Shares Dive
Insurer Coventry Health Care Inc reported a lower-than-expected quarterly profit and issued a disappointing full-year outlook as costs from a Medicaid plan for low-income Americans weighed heavily on results, and its shares fell 11 percent. While overall enrollment in Coventry's Medicaid plans nearly doubled in the first quarter, costs for a plan in Kentucky were well above premiums (Krauskopf, 4/27).

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