Kentucky HEALTH Medicaid 1115 Waiver Evaluation

NORC is serving as the data collection contractor for the University of Pennsylvania’s independent evaluation of the Kentucky HEALTH Medicaid 1115 Waiver. Kentucky HEALTH is a Medicaid Section 1115 waiver that was approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in January 2018. This 5-year demonstration waiver aims to modify the traditional Medicaid program to improve health behaviors, health outcomes, and socioeconomic outcomes in the waiver-eligible population through several innovations. In brief, these include introducing Community Engagement requirements, monthly premiums, MyRewards accounts for dental and vision services, and annual recertification to continue receiving benefits. These innovations will be coupled with various levels of penalization if beneficiaries fail to complete requirements, including suspension and 6-month lockouts from the Medicaid program.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky has chosen to implement this program in a randomized fashion, where 10% of the target population will be randomly assigned to continue receiving traditional Medicaid while 90% will receive Kentucky HEALTH and be subject to the components and requirements discussed above. NORC selected participants from Kentucky’s Medicaid member database and conducted the randomization. Primary data collection consists of a series of surveys, bio-measure collection, and qualitative in-depth-interviews.

The project examine the waiver’s impact on members’ health care utilization, health status and outcomes, employment and community involvement, insurance status, finances, attitudes and beliefs about the program, and member demographics.

Using a multi-modal approach, NORC fields annual surveys of Medicaid members using a self-administered online questionnaire and computer assisted telephone interview (CATI). We are collecting respondents’ basic health measures using an in-person protocol and following the panel of members over a five-year period. NORC is also conducting in-depth interviews with Medicaid enrollees including a cohort we will follow and interview annually during the life of the contract, as well as separate interviews with individuals impacted by substance use disorders, smokers, those who are locked-out of coverage or who experience disenrollment, and beneficiaries who are participating in the state's My Rewards incentive program. We will also conduct annual interviews with health care providers, and Medicaid staff. The information we collect will be used to study the impact of the waiver on Medicaid enrollees and the Medicaid program in Kentucky.

NORC started data collection for the baseline survey in May 2018. If you have been contacted by an NORC researcher to participate, you can find more information at


Visit or Contact Us: