New Policy from DHHS Will Allow Work Requirements for Medicaid Enrollees

Yesterday, federal officials issued new guidance that will support “state efforts to improve Medicaid enrollee health outcomes by incentivizing community engagement among able-bodied, working-age Medicaid beneficiaries.” A number of Section 1115 waiver applications currently before the Department for Health and Human Services would impose work requirements in one way or another are expected to be approved under the new policy.

In an article today, the Washington Post says the approval of Kentucky’s waiver application could come as soon as Friday, Jan. 12. Here is a link to a Kaiser Family Foundation report on pending and approved Medicaid waiver applications and to the Kaiser waiver tracker.

Click here for the Jan. 11 letter to state Medicaid directors setting out the new federal policy and click here for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid press release.

Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, is quoted in the Washington Post article predicting that a lawsuit will be filed as soon as the first approval is granted.

Leonardo Cuello, health policy director at the National Health Law Program, told the Washington Post, his group is studying legal options. “It’s not a good idea, and it’s illegal.”

At the 2017 CSG National Conference in December, Karin VanZant discussed the work program initiative that CareSource has implemented in Dayton, Ohio. Under pending waivers in Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin programs such as the CareSource initiative could be financed by Medicaid and could be made mandatory for certain Medicaid enrollees.