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New Medicaid expansion benefits will have to be earned

Posted at 10:10 PM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-20 23:10:37-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Nearly two years after Nebraska voters approved a Medicaid expansion, the new program was finally approved Tuesday. But those wanting the new benefits will have to earn them under the plan approved by the federal government and Gov. Pete Ricketts.

The new program will expand upon the basic coverage of physical health, behavioral health and prescriptions by adding vision, dental and over the counter medication.

For those wanting the additional coverage when it is available on October 1, 2021, they must have a primary care doctor, have a yearly checkup and take part in a health risk screening. They also cannot miss three or more medical appointments in a six month span.

“We want to help people, meet them where they’re at and help them use that card so they know how to find a doctor, know how to get to a doctor, literally get there if they need it," said Nate Watson, Deputy Director of Policy and Regulations for Nebraska Medicaid.

The program also requires those seeking the expanded benefits to stick with their employer-provided insurance if it is deemed affordable.

In 2022, another requirement will be added to the program. Those seeking the additional coverage will need to show 80 hours of work, education, volunteering or substance abuse treatment every month.

“All these things, whether it’s around wellness, personal responsibility, or in the second year with community engagement, are designed to get better outcomes for the people we’re serving," said Gov. Ricketts in a press conference on Tuesday.

So far over 14,000 people have been deemed eligible for the expansion.