State of Missouri outlines plan for Medicaid expansion

(Dakota news now)
Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 12:25 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Edited News Release/KY3) - In accordance with the Cole County Circuit Court’s August 10 ruling, the Missouri Department of Social Services (DSS) will begin allowing individuals to apply for the MO HealthNet program.

Cole County Judge Jon Beetem in his order said the Parson Administration must give Medicaid coverage to newly eligible adults, despite the governor’s resistance to doing so. Beetem also ordered that newly eligible adults won’t face any additional restrictions to get health care coverage through the program.

The ruling represents a major victory for supporters of expanding Medicaid under the terms of the 2010 federal health care law signed by President Barack Obama. Missouri voters in 2020 approved a state constitutional amendment expanding access to the government health care program to an estimated 275,000 more low-income adults.

“My administration is always going to follow the law and yesterday’s court order is no exception,” Governor Mike Parson said. “The necessary funding to cover the health care costs of the expanded population remains the issue. We will continue to work with the General Assembly and DSS to chart a path forward to comply with the court order and keep the MO HealthNet program solvent.”

The state is currently working through administrative hurdles, including adequate appropriations, staffing capacity, and computer software changes in order to begin enrolling the expanded population. Governor Parson included funding in his Fiscal Year 22 budget proposal to the General Assembly to cover both the health care costs of the expanded population and for 75 additional employees to administer the expanded program. The proposed funds were not included in the final Fiscal Year 22 budget. As a result, DSS is limited to administering the expanded MO HealthNet program without sufficient staffing or appropriations.

Missourians eligible for MO HealthNet benefits under the expanded Medicaid eligibility may go to MyDSS.MO.Gov to apply.  DSS will begin making eligibility determinations once MO HealthNet’s software is updated to reflect the court order. In order to comply with the court order and until the necessary funds can be appropriated, DSS will reassign existing employees from their current assignments and responsibilities in order to receive and evaluate MO HealthNet applications.

Due to current staffing capacity and funding restraints, the required system update is anticipated to take up to 60 days. Qualifying health care costs that are incurred by eligible Missourians between the time they apply and when DSS is able to verify their eligibility may be reimbursed at a later date.

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