KanCare: Reinventing Medicaid for Kansas

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What is KanCare?

KanCare is the program through which the State of Kansas administers Medicaid. Launched in January, 2013, KanCare is delivering whole-person, integrated care to more than 360,000 consumers across the state. Kansas has contracted with three health plans, or managed care organizations (MCOs), to coordinate health care for nearly all Medicaid beneficiaries. The KanCare health plans are Amerigroup of Kansas, Inc. (Amerigroup), Sunflower State Health Plan (Sunflower), and UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas (United).

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) administer KanCare within the State of Kansas. KDHE maintains financial management and contract oversight of the KanCare program while KDADS administers the Medicaid waiver programs for disability services, mental health and substance abuse, as well as operates the state hospitals and institutions.

Each Medicaid consumer is assigned to one of the KanCare health plans. Consumers in KanCare receive all the same services provided under the previous Medicaid delivery system, plus additional services. The inclusion of services provided through the Home and Community Based Services waiver for consumers with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD) became part of KanCare in February 2014. In addition to the services that were available to Medicaid consumers prior to 2013, the three health plans offer new services to their members, such as preventative dental care for adults, heart/lung transplants and bariatric surgery.

Consumers have the option during open enrollment season once a year to change to a different KanCare health plan if they prefer to do so. Open season corresponds with the anniversary month of enrollment in the program.
All pre-2013 Medicaid services are now provided through the KanCare health plans. These include physical health services such as doctor appointments and hospital visits, behavioral health services, dental and vision care, pharmacy, transportation, and nursing facility care. All the services offered through the State’s Home and Community Based Services waivers are part of  KanCare. The HealthWave and HealthConnect Kansas programs have ended, and all of those services are now provided through the KanCare health plans.

The KanCare health plans are required to coordinate all of the different types of care a consumer receives. The goals of the KanCare program are to improve overall health outcomes while slowing the rate of cost growth over time. This will be accomplished by providing the right care, in the right amount, in the right setting, at the right time. The health plans focus on ensuring that consumers receive the preventive services and screenings they need and ongoing help with managing chronic conditions.