HHS rejects Kansas' request for Medicaid lifetime limits

Medicaid
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma announced the agency's decision Monday. (Getty/juststock)

The Trump administration is rejecting a request from Kansas to impose a three-year lifetime limit on Medicaid benefits.

The Sunflower State proposed beneficiaries only be allowed to remain in the state's KanCare Medicaid program for a maximum of three years over the span of their life before being dropped. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma announced the agency's decision Monday.

"We seek to create a pathway out of poverty, but we also understand that people’s circumstances change, and we must ensure that our programs are sustainable and available to them when they need and qualify for them," Verma said at the American Hospital Association's annual membership meeting. 

Verma was expected to make the announcement last week, but it was pushed back due to internal decision conflicts, sources familiar with the situation told FierceHealthcare. 

RELATED: Trump administration mulls lifetime Medicaid coverage caps

Critics of such limits have said it unfairly burdens people who struggle financially throughout their lives and depend on the program as their only source of health coverage.

The announcement does not augur well for other states, including Arizona, Utah, and Maine who have also requested lifetime limits. 

However, Verma didn't rule out approving other "community engagement" requirements, including work requirements. "We will continue to be supportive of state efforts to help able-bodied, working-age adults rise out of poverty, so they can gain the skills they need to fill the jobs that are available," she said. 

CMS has already approved work requirements in three states—Kentucky, Arkansas and Indiana—and Seema said a waiver approval for a fourth state would be announced this week. 

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