DHHS Announces Updates to Medicaid Expansion

News Release
For Immediate Release: 6/1/2021

Taylor Gage, 402-471-1970, taylor.gage@nebraska.gov
Olga Dack, (402) 471-9356, olga.dack@nebraska.gov

Lincoln – Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announces that all Nebraskans who are eligible for Medicaid expansion will receive equal benefits coverage, including dental services, vision services, and over-the-counter medications, starting October 1, 2021.

To initiate this change, DHHS will notify the federal government – through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) – of its intent to withdraw its application for Section 1115 Heritage Health Adult (HHA) demonstration program. The HHA demonstration program would have allowed Nebraskans who have Basic benefits coverage through Medicaid expansion to qualify for Prime benefits by participating in wellness, personal responsibility, and community engagement activities.

Although DHHS received contingent federal approval for its application for the HHA demonstration program in October 2020 under the Trump Administration, the federal government under the Biden Administration has since indicated that it would not approve the community engagement component, a critical part of the program designed to encourage gainful employment and other opportunities.

Encouraging and helping participating Nebraskans to improve their overall health and life success remain key priorities. To do so, DHHS will work with the Heritage Health plans to provide optional wellness participation opportunities for Medicaid beneficiaries. Starting October 1, 2021, all beneficiaries will receive state plan benefits – which are the same benefits as Prime – regardless of whether they choose to accept additional help or not.

“We are excited to take the next steps in our vision to help our fellow Nebraskans live better lives," said Kevin Bagley, director of the Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care. “I am grateful for the efforts of my DHHS teammates and others in getting the program to where it is today and look forward to making continuous improvements moving forward."


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