Dental, vision for thousands on KY Medicaid canceled after ruling

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Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) announced he will cancel dental and vision coverage for close to 500,000 enrollees in the wake of a judge blocking Kentucky's Medicaid work requirements.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) announced he will cancel dental and vision coverage for close to 500,000 enrollees in the wake of a judge blocking Kentucky's Medicaid work requirements.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) announced he will cancel dental and vision coverage for close to 500,000 enrollees in the wake of a judge blocking Kentucky's Medicaid work requirements.

The cancelation is an “unfortunate consequence” of U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg blocking the work requirement Friday, a spokesman for the state's Health and Family Services agency told the Louisville Courier-Journal. In his ruling, the judge said the architects of the plan and the Trump administration, which approved it, failed to consider the coverage losses resulting from the work requirements.

“The Secretary never adequately considered whether Kentucky HEALTH would in fact help the state furnish medical assistance to its citizens, a central objective of Medicaid,” Boasberg said in his decision. “This signal omission renders his determination arbitrary and capricious.”

The ruling can be appealed. On Monday an additional statement said the administration hopes to "quickly resolve the fallout from the court ruling."

Democrats hammered Bevin on his decision Monday, saying they were checking with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as to whether his move to cut benefits is allowed. The federal government pays 80% of Kentucky's Medicaid costs.

Bevin's plan was largely aimed at working adults on Medicaid, not seniors in nursing homes. The intent was to require people to work or volunteer at least 20 hours a week, pay monthly premiums of $1 to $15 and earn points for dental and vision benefits through a “My Rewards” account. The points could be earned through online classes or volunteer work.