Iowa seeks to cut Medicaid health care benefit to save money

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa is seeking federal approval to cut a key Medicaid health care benefit for the elderly and poor in an effort to save money.

The state has asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to eliminate a provision that allows a person to get Medicaid coverage three months before he or she submits an application to join the program. The provision ensures a care facility receives retroactive payment for treating some patients who are suddenly sick or in an accident.

The policy would impact new Medicaid patients.

The Iowa Department of Human Services says the GOP-controlled Iowa Legislature mandated the cut in a bill with cost-containment measures. DHS estimates $36.7 million would be saved, including $9.7 million for the state.

If approved, Iowa would become one of the first states in the nation to deny Medicaid beneficiaries three months of retroactive coverage. It is anticipated 40,000 Iowans would be affected by the change.