Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky

Participation in DITE: Cohort 9 Fellow

Dr. Joseph Benitez is an assistant professor and health economist in University of Kentucky’s (UK) College of Public Health in the Department of Health Management and Policy. He is also a courtesy faculty member in the Department of Economics and UK’s Martin School of Public Policy and Administration. Dr. Benitez studies the role of public policy in shaping access to care for medically underserved population with an emphasis on Medicaid policy and Medicaid program design. His current projects focus on the utility of Medicaid coverage as a safety net during unemployment spells and how variation in network characteristics influence access to care within Kentucky’s Medicaid population. He has been previously funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study how households use Medicaid during transitional poverty spells and unanticipated periods of joblessness. Dr. Benitez is also to begin work with Kentucky’s Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) to study provider network adequacy within and across Kentucky’s Medicaid Managed Care (MMC) program. Additionally, Dr. Benitez has ongoing projects to understand the interactive effects between Medicaid eligibility and payment guidelines on health care access, and he worked as a non-residential fellow with KFF’s, formerly known as the Kaiser Family Foundation, Program on Medicaid and the Uninsured team for the 2022-2023 academic year.