States considering Medicaid work requirements

US Capitol Coverage

In a report released Thursday by the Urban Institute, researchers analyzed the impact of Arkansas’ new Medicaid work requirements that go into effect June 1st.

They found that three-quarters of working age, Arkansans who receive health insurance through the government program will be exempt from the rules.

The requirements say Medicaid beneficiaries must work, go to school, get job training or volunteer. 

It excludes parents, people over 50, anyone under 18 and the disabled.

The urban institute estimates nearly 40,000 people subject to the new requirements who aren’t currently working could lose their health care.

Health policy researcher Anuj Jangopadhyaya talked about the groups that may have difficulties finding or getting to a job.

“No internet access, no vehicle access, less than a high school education, severe health limitations,” Jangopadhyaya said.

He says seasonal employees could face challenges because an 80-hour work requirement is calculated every month.

“They may be subject to starts and stops in work and could consequently have their coverage jeopardized.”

Arkansas Congressman Bruce Westerman is convinced the work requirements will help Medicaid recipients.

“It’s a first step in moving people from welfare to work,” Rep. Westerman said.

Many will be watching Arkansas’ program when it’s the first of its kind go live next week. More than 10 other states are working to implement similar rules.

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