CMS issues split decision on Arkansas Medicaid waiver


The Trump administration on March 5 approved Arkansas’ request for a Medicaid work requirement but deferred a decision on the state’s request to roll back its Medicaid expansion that has added 300,000 adults to the program.

Arkansas had sought to reduce the number of people eligible for Medicaid by allowing only those with incomes below the federal poverty level, or about $12,140 for an individual, to qualify. For the past 4 years, Arkansas Medicaid covered everyone with incomes under 138% of the poverty level, or about $16,750. The new policy would have cut the number of people eligible for Medicaid in the state by about 60,000 people.

Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, who announced the decision, has said her goal as head of the program was to grant states more flexibility in running their Medicaid programs than they’ve had before.

Arkansas follows Indiana and Kentucky this year in winning CMS’ approval for the work requirement. Arkansas plans to start the new requirement affecting adults under age 50 years by June, making it the first to do so.


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