6 updates on states' efforts for Medicaid work requirements

Kentucky is gearing up to be the first U.S. state to implement work requirements for Medicaid recipients with other Republican-led states poised to follow, according to The New York Times.

Here are six things to know.

1. Federal officials approved Kentucky's request to implement Medicaid work requirements last month, although the decision is facing a legal challenge from a group of state residents.

2. The state's Medicaid rules require adults between the ages of 19 and 64 to complete at least 80 hours each month of "employment activities," including work, job training and community service. It also requires Medicaid enrollees to pay an income-based premium of $1 to $15. Enrollees who don't pay the premium risk losing coverage for six months. Additionally, many Medicaid recipients must earn "rewards dollars" to receive dental and vision care, according to the report. The Medicaid work requirements do not apply to former foster care youth, pregnant women, primary caregivers for dependents, full-time students and disabled individuals.

3. Kentucky health official Kristi Putnam in a recent meeting said various regional workforce boards will keep track of employment activity compliance; managed care companies will collect premiums; and rewards dollars will be monitored through a new online platform, where enrollees will document their work, volunteer or training hours, reports the NYT.

4. Supporters of the Kentucky Medicaid work requirements argue completing employment activities will offer dignity and improved health for "able-bodied, working-age adults," while others are concerned low-income people, who may find transportation and internet access difficult, will face challenges complying with the new Medicaid documentation rules, according to the report.

5. Kentucky's work requirements will affect some 350,000 people who joined Medicaid under ACA expansion, according to state estimates cited by the NYT.

6. Kentucky is not alone in seeking Medicaid work requirements. The federal government has also approved Indiana's request to impose work rules. Additionally, Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Utah and Wisconsin are seeking federal waivers to impose lifetime Medicaid coverage limits.

Leo Vartorella contributed to this report.  

The full NYT report is available here.


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