The waiver request to federal officials for the Arkansas legislature’s “private option” took a critical step toward implementation on Monday (June 24).

State Medicaid officials released a public notice to request approval of “a Health Care Independence 1115 Demonstration waiver,” which outlines the details of the private option passed during the 89th General Assembly. The plan will be submitted to the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Under the proposal, lawmakers and Gov. Mike Beebe (D) are asking the feds to allow Arkansas to use Medicaid expansion dollars under Obamacare to supplement lower-income health policies in a forthcoming state-federal insurance exchange.

“The Demonstration will test hypotheses related to provider access, churning, emergency room use, cost-comparability, usage of Medicaid wrap benefits, quality improvement, preventive services, and uncompensated care costs,” Arkansas Medicaid Director Andy Allison said in the public notice.

Officials at the Arkansas Department of Human Services will conduct two public hearings to allow for comments on the wavier request. One hearing will be July 2 at UAMS in Little Rock and the second hearing will be July 8 at UA-Fort Smith.

DHS is expected to submit its application to the federal government on Aug. 2 after the public-comment period closes.

You can read the public notice here.

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Roby Brock
Roby Brock is the Editor-in-Chief and Host of Talk Business & Politics. He can be reached by e-mail at Roby@TalkBusiness.net. Follow him on Twitter: @RobyBrock.