Feds approve plan for Ariz. Medicaid overhaul, but reject several key provisions

CMS on Friday approved Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey's plan to modernize the state's Medicaid program, but the approved plan does not include several provisions the governor had proposed, such as a job search requirement or a five-year limit on benefits, according to AZ Central.

The Arizona Medicaid demonstration, called the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, has been extended five years through Sept. 30, 2021, according to the report.

Gov. Ducey had wanted the program to require the estimated 350,000 able-bodied state residents eligible for Medicaid to take more financial responsibility for their coverage through copays and incentives to work. The plan he sought also would have capped benefits after five years, according to the report.

What the newly approved plan does require is a requirement for beneficiaries to contribute to an account that is "similar to a health savings account — but to be used for services not currently covered by Medicaid, including dental, vision, weight loss and more," read a news release from the AHCCCS. 

Under this new initiative is called AHCCCS Choice Accountability Responsibility Engagement, the state may require beneficiaries to pay monthly contributions of up to 2 percent of household income, according to the report. The AHCCCS CARE program also includes "Healthy Arizona," an incentive program for recipients to manage preventative healthcare and chronic illness.

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