A Kansas legislative oversight committee is holding a daylong hearing to review the state’s KanCare system that provides Medicaid to poor, elderly and disabled Kansans.

The committee meeting this morning includes a discussion of the state’s waiting lists for people seeking home and community-based services, as well as recent estimates for demand for those services over the next 18 months.

Kansas privatized the program in 2013 to reduce the growth of health care costs, which are shared by state and federal sources.

Some Kansas dentists say low reimbursement rates and slow KanCare claims processing are keeping them from accepting new patients covered by the state's managed care program.

Manhattan dentist E. Hamrick Swan Jr. says the reimbursement rate for KanCare patients is about 40 percent of his fee.

While he still takes KanCare patients, he said he has to limit the number of new ones he can accept.

The National Council on Disability says federal officials should delay Kansas’ plan to move services for the developmentally disabled into its Medicaid managed care program. As Jim McLean of the KHI News Service reports, the council’s recommendation is the latest development in a long running battle over including disabled Kansans in KanCare.

A legislative oversight committee is meeting on Monday to hear a status report on changes made to the state's Medicaid program.

The state contracted with three private managed-care organizations earlier this year; they administer Medicaid programs for the poor, elderly, and disabled.

The Joint Committee on Home and Community Based Services and KanCare Oversight will hear from groups that represent developmentally disabled and community-based service providers.

Kansas Lieutenant Governor Jeff Colyer says the state's new Medicaid managed care program will deliver on its promise to save $1 billion over five years.

Colyer says the three private insurance companies managing the KanCare program will achieve those savings because their bottom lines depend on it.

"And the big stick in this is, we're going to hold back half a billion dollars from the insurers over the next five years," Colyer says.

KanCare beneficiaries can expect to receive an important mailing in the next few days.

The Affordable Care Act makes some changes that will require them to provide additional information about their households. The mailing is going out to 130,000 households that include children and pregnant women who are KanCare, formerly known as Medicaid, beneficiaries.

State officials have submitted their first quarterly update on KanCare to the federal government.

The federal waiver that gives Kansas the authority to experiment with its Medicaid program by privatizing the entire system requires a progress report four times a year.

The first report covers the period from January 1 through March 31.

It shows that a total of more than 344,000 Kansans enrolled in KanCare during the first three months. At the end of March, however, there were fewer than 324,000, a drop of more than 20,000 people.

More than 1,000 advocates for the developmentally disabled are rallying at the Kansas Statehouse to urge officials to maintain the current system for providing services.

Lawmakers Mulling Medicaid Expansion

Apr 3, 2013

Starting next year, states will be able to take part in a sweeping expansion of the health care program Medicaid, and the federal government will pick up most of the cost. But it's still not clear if that expansion will take place in Kansas, where the state's Medicaid program is known as KanCare. 

As Lawmakers and Gov. Sam Brownback consider the expansion, some Kansans are trying to make their voices heard.


KanCare Selection Period Ends Thursday

Apr 1, 2013

The clock is ticking for the 380,000 Kansans whose health insurance comes through the Medicaid program now known as KanCare.

The KanCare program assigned each member to one of three private companies administering the benefits as of the first of the year. Members who prefer to switch to a different company have to do so no later than this Thursday.

At a recent educational meeting in Hays, KDHE policy and program analyst Effie Swanson said one reason to switch might be if your doctor is not signed up with your health plan’s network.