Health

Kentuckians who missed the chance to give input on proposed changes to state-run Medicaid now have until the end of the day on August 14 to comment.

Officials with the Kentucky Department for Medicaid Services say the comment period was reopened because of the high volume of remarks received after the original July 22 deadline.

“We got 30 percent of comments on the last day and even some after the deadline,” said Jean West, Cabinet for Health and Family Services communications director. “So we decided to extend it to accept the comments that came right after the deadline and allow any others.”

She said the state has not determined a date for submission of the revised waiver to the federal government. That will allow officials time to go through comments, she said.

Medicaid was expanded in 2014 to include people earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty limit, or $16,394 for a single person.

The number of adults without insurance fell from 18.8 percent in 2013 to 6.8 percent in 2015 in Kentucky, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Before the Medicaid expansion, eligibility for parents was at 57% of the federal poverty limit ($11,491 for a family of 3 in 2016) and there was no coverage for adults without dependent children.

Kenny Colston with the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, said he hopes more people will comment on Gov. Bevin’s proposed changes to Medicaid, specifically the elimination of default vision and dental coverage for able-bodied adults. Bevin is proposing a ‘rewards’ account that would let people earn points toward those benefits.

“Our hope is that they’re reopening to allow even more people to give comment,” Colston said. “This proposal puts at risk many of the gains we’ve made in health care.”

Comments can be submitted to: Kyhealth@kentucky.gov.

This story has been updated.