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Public Hearings Set for AR Private Option Implementation

The Arkansas Department of Human Services will hold two public hearings next month on the implementation of the "private option" healthcare plan that starts January 1st.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - The Arkansas Department of Human Services will hold two public hearings next month on the implementation of the "private option" healthcare plan that starts January 1st.

Andy Allison, the director of the Division of Medicaid Services within DHS, said during a meeting Thursday that agency would host meetings in Little Rock on July 2 and Fort Smith on July 8.

The meetings are designed to receive public input on a draft waiver form DHS has crafted that will be submitted to federal officials for final approval of the state's "private option" heath care plan.

The private option will use federal dollars made available to states through Medicaid expansion as part of the Affordable Care Act, and place more than 200,000 uninsured Arkansans on private insurance.

State representative David Fielding, D-Magnolia, questioned why no meetings would be held for public input in the 1st and 4th congressional districts.

"So you expect those who want to come to a public hearing to drive two and half hours and then drive two and a half hours back to come to the public hearing," Fielding asked Allison.  "That's what you're saying?"

Allison said DHS would look at the possibility of adding an additional meeting for input but noted anyone in the state can go online, read the private option plan, the draft waiver and add comments.
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