Blog Post

Insight: What’s Being Said About Utah?

By: Laura Summers

Fall is hands-down my favorite season. The weather is cooling, the holidays are nearing, and Utah’s already-beautiful canyons become breathtaking. Fall is also when the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and the National Association of Medicaid Directors release results from their annual 50-state Medicaid survey.

For those of us who track state health policy, there is nothing more exciting than accessing this holy grail of information on state Medicaid program changes and updates. The report provides an “in-depth examination” of Medicaid programs across the country, drawn from a “survey of Medicaid officials in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.”[1]

So what does the report say about Utah?

Utah is both expanding and narrowing Medicaid eligibility: The very first page of the report highlights Utah as a state “to watch” given it is one of three states that had Medicaid expansion proposals on their November 2018 ballots. As we recently learned, residents in all three of these states, Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah, voted to expand Medicaid.

Utah is also one of eight states that plans to eliminate retroactive eligibility for one or more Medicaid groups. Retroactive eligibility allows Medicaid to pay for services received by the beneficiary three-months prior to their application date if they were eligible for coverage at that time. Utah eliminated retroactive eligibility for its Primary Care Network program, which is a limited benefit health plan offered to a capped number of adults who are not traditionally eligible for Medicaid.

Utah is also one of 10 states that implemented a “narrow” Medicaid expansion. In FY2018, Utah expanded Medicaid to adults without dependent children who are: (1) chronically ho