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Timetable still unclear for Medicaid expansion

Nebraska Legislature hears wind energy bill
Posted at 8:40 AM, Feb 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-18 09:40:31-05

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — A voter-approved law to expand Medicaid in Nebraska is quietly taking shape as the state prepares to extend health coverage to an estimated 90,000 recipients, but key challenges still must be resolved. Officials haven't set a firm date to start enrolling people.

Nebraska state officials say they face a huge undertaking with a lot of moving parts. Even though they must submit their plan to the federal government by April 1, administrators say that review could take time and require additional changes.

Administrators want to err on the side of doing it properly rather than rushing the process, said Nebraska Medicaid and Long-Term Care Director Matthew Van Patton. He declined to give a specific date for when residents could start getting coverage, saying the agency is still working to upgrade it's computers and hire additional workers.

Advocates for low-income Nebraskans say they're concerned uninsured people will continue to go without health care while the state tinkers with its plan.

The ballot measure approved in November requires the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to submit a state Medicaid plan amendment to the federal government to cover newly eligible, low-income Nebraskans.