The waiver amendment request for Arkansas’ Medicaid expansion program, Arkansas Works, received partial approval of the requests on March 5, 2018.
The Requested Waiver Amendments included the following changes:
- FPL Changes: Eligibility would be lowered from 138% of FPL to 100% of FPL. This change is estimated to reduce the number of beneficiaries by 20%, or approximately 60,000 individuals. Not Approved.
- Retroactive Eligibility: The waiver requests permission to: 1) eliminate patients becoming eligible the day of application and 2) eliminate the ability of providers to bill in the three months prior to the application. The patient’s eligibility would be effective the first day of the month that the patient applies for coverage. Partially Approved. Retroactive eligibility will be limited to 30 days prior to the date of application.
- Work Requirements: The addition of a requirement for able-bodied beneficiaries to work, be engaged in work training, or volunteer with a charitable organization in order to receive assistance through the Arkansas Works program. The requirement will require non-disabled, childless adults aged 19 to 49 to participate in community engagement activities, including work, training, or volunteering, 80 hours a month. Those that do not comply with the requirements for 3 months out of a year will be locked out of coverage until the following year.
- Expansion of Premium Payments: Using Medicaid expansion funds to pay premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance for employees who earn between 75% and 100% of the poverty level (as opposed to only for employers who are newly offering coverage, as in the current Arkansas Works waiver). CMS approved removing the waiver and expenditure authorities related to the state’s mandatory employee sponsored insurance (ESI) premium assistance program, which the state will eliminate.
- Determining Eligibility: Changing Arkansas from its current designation as a “determination state” to an “assessment state” meaning that Arkansas, rather than the Federal government, would determine eligibility. Not Approved.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has stated that Arkansas will continue to work with CMS regarding the requested waiver amendments that were not included in this approval, including lowering the eligibility cap.
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