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Politics & Government

Idaho Still Awaiting Approval For Medicaid Waivers As Enrollment Grows

James Dawson
Boise State Public Radio

As tens of thousands of people have signed up under Idaho’s Medicaid expansion, the state is still waiting on federal approval of several waivers to implement things like work requirements.


More than 62,000 Idahoans now have health insurance under Medicaid expansion since enrollment began in November. It's estimated up to 91,000 people in the state are eligible for the program.


State health department officials told legislators this week that there hasn’t been a lack of doctors ready to treat them – 90% of healthcare providers in Idaho have signed up to accept Medicaid.


But additional restrictions state lawmakers wanted to tack on to the program, like work requirements, are still in limbo.


Right now, 10 states require enrollees to work a certain number of hours per month to get health coverage. There are several outstanding lawsuits over these requirements and no state is currently enforcing them, according to Idaho health officials.


Another waiver that would force patients to get a referral from their primary doctor before getting birth control is also awaiting federal approval.


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has already rejected one waiver. That would’ve let some people who qualify for the expansion to instead receive a federal subsidy for health insurance, which Idaho is working to resubmit.


State officials say they're hopeful another waiver will soon be approved to allow enrollees to use Medicaid to pay for long-term mental health and addiction counseling services.


Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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