Asa’s Christmas Gift to Arkansas: 17,000 Stripped of Healthcare

Just in from the Arkansas Times.

“Almost 17,000 Arkansans have now lost their health insurance due to the state’s experimental work requirement for certain low-income adult Medicaid beneficiaries, according to a monthly report released by the state Department of Human Services on Monday.

The state terminated coverage for another 4,655 beneficiaries due to noncompliance with the work rule in early December, adding to the 12,277 who were cut off and locked out of Medicaid from September to November. Those people were enrollees in the Arkansas Works program, the state’s approach to Medicaid expansion. Arkansas Works provides low-income adults with marketplace insurance plans through private carriers such as Blue Cross or Ambetter, but their premiums and other cost-sharing are paid by Medicaid.

However, those who lost coverage due to the work requirement in 2018 — including those who just lost it in December — may regain their insurance as soon as Jan. 1. The work rule says that Medicaid beneficiaries who don’t report 80 hours of monthly “work activities” to DHS for any three months out of a given calendar year are locked out of the Arkansas Works program for the rest of that year.

The three-month threshold resets in 2019. That means anyone may reapply for coverage in the new year, a DHS spokesperson confirmed by email on Monday, as long as they meet income-eligibility criteria.

In 2018, the work requirement applied only to Arkansas Works beneficiaries ages 30-49. Beginning in January, it will expand to include those ages 19-29 as well. (People 50 and older are not subject to the requirement.)” Read the full report here.

Democratic Party of Arkansas Chairman Michael John Gray had harsh words for the Governor and his changes to Arkansas Works.


“This Christmas, 17,000 Arkansans will face a future without healthcare,” said Chairman Gray. “Gov. Hutchinson chose to put these families through an experimental work requirement. The experiment is over and results are disastrous. But we can fix this. Let’s stop playing politics and choose to do what’s best for Arkansans.”