Kentucky dentists say kids wrongly denied care over Medicaid cuts

Kentucky dentists say kids wrongly denied care over Medicaid cuts

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s (R) decision to cut Medicaid benefits for thousands of adults in the state has created confusion, in some cases reportedly resulting in dentists wrongly denying care to patients.

Dentists told Kentucky’s Courier-Journal that they have had to deny care to some patients, including children, who incorrectly appeared in the state’s computer system as having lost coverage, even though they are supposed to be exempt from the cuts.

A dentist in Floyd County told the publication that he has turned away roughly 10 children over the past few days. The issue has also reportedly affected pregnant women, who are also supposed to be exempt. 

Bevin unveiled the cuts over the weekend after a federal judge struck down the governor’s plan to overhaul the state’s Medicaid system. Democrats and health-care advocates have blasted the move as cruel and potentially illegal.

The cuts, which affect dental and vision coverage, are estimated to affect some 460,000 Kentucky adults. 

A provider in Louisville told the Courier-Journal that patients had shown up for appointments without knowing they had lost coverage. Unable to pay out of pocket, they were forced to cancel their care. 

The cuts were only supposed to affect “able-bodied adults,” but the report Wednesday suggests that there have been unintended issues with their abrupt rollout.

A spokesman for the state's Cabinet for Health and Family Services told the Courier-Journal that he could not confirm whether people were wrongly marked as losing coverage or a provider was simply getting inaccurate information “without specifics” of the cases.

“According to system checks, eligibility is being correctly applied to children and pregnant women,” Doug Hogan, the spokesman, said.

Hogan also said the administration is working through the effects of the judge’s ruling.