More than 4,000 people will lose their Medicaid coverage in Arkansas for failing to meet the state’s new work requirements.
Earlier this year, the Trump administration approved the new work rules, which went into effect in June for about 26,000 Medicaid recipients. Able-bodied Medicaid recipients in Arkansas are now required to report their work, volunteer and education hours online on a monthly basis. Failure to meet the 80-hour monthly requirement or to successfully report the required activities to the state for three months results in a loss of benefits. Those who lose their coverage cannot reapply until next year.
“Personal responsibility is important. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure those who qualify for the program keep their coverage, but it is equally important that we make sure those who no longer qualify are removed," Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said Wednesday as he announced that 4,353 people became ineligible for Medicaid at the end of August.
Critics of the work requirements point out that many of low-wage workers will have trouble reporting their hours online. Arkansas has one of the worst rates of internet connectivity in the country, and the state’s website is reportedly down for maintenance 10 hours per day.
The number of people losing coverage in Arkansas could increase significantly in the coming months. Only 1,218 beneficiaries reported that they met the 80-hour work requirement in August, while 16,357 people failed to do so.