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State officials unveil Medicaid expansion plan, coverage would begin Oct. 2020

State officials unveil Medicaid expansion plan, coverage would begin Oct. 2020

Low-income Nebraskans who qualify for health coverage under the voter-approved Medicaid expansion will have to wait another 18 months to get it.

Nebraska state officials said Monday that coverage will go live on Oct. 1, 2020. The announcement comes as the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services submits its proposed Medicaid state plan amendment to the federal government for approval.

Nebraska Medicaid Director Matthew Van Patton says the long timeline is necessary to get everything ready.

The proposal would also create two tiers of coverage: Basic coverage would be based on a commercial health plan, while more
comprehensive “prime” coverage would require that recipients be working, in school, volunteering or caring for a relative. Prime coverage would include dental, vision and over-the-counter drug coverage.

The group Nebraska Appleseed blasted the plan, saying the Nebraska Department of Health and Human services chose to ignore voter intent in Medicaid expansion implementation.

In a release, Nebraska Appleseed Health Care Access Program Director Molly McCleery said “The Department’s choice to delay implementation, add complex tiered benefit plans and work requirements to expanded Medicaid coverage, is irresponsible and contrary to the intent of Nebraska voters. This plan leaves the health of 90,000 Nebraskans who are unable to access care in jeopardy for two more years.”

McCleery goes on to say “It also does a great disservice to people who have already waited six years for this coverage, as well as our health care facilities and state economy, which would benefit greatly from nearly $600 million in new federal funding.”

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