Most Medicaid enrollees exempt from work requirements


Only 6% of the Medicaid population would be unlikely to qualify for an exemption from work requirements for “able-bodied adults” that states are in the process of being implementing, according to a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

In 2016, over 60% of Medicaid enrollees worked either full time (43%) or part time (19%), so they would be exempt from the requirements. Another 15% were in fair or poor health or didn’t work because of illness or disability, 11% didn’t work because they were providing care for family members, and 6% were attending school, Kaiser wrote in an issue brief.

Potential exemption status for noneldely Medicaid adults
That leaves 6% of the 23.5 million nonelderly, non–dual eligible adult Medicaid enrollees, including 2% who reported that they were retired, who would not have been exempt from the new work rules, according to the Kaiser analysis of the March 2017 Current Population Survey, the primary source of labor force statistics for the Census Bureau.

“This target population is much smaller than the groups of enrollees who are already working but would need to comply with new reporting requirements and those who could be exempt and would have to navigate an exemption process,” the Kaiser investigators said.

States will need to set up systems to deal with these issues, but many enrollees face barriers to complying. The waiver program in Arkansas – one of the first four states to receive permission to impose work requirements – “requires beneficiaries to set up an online account and use this account as the sole means of periodic reporting related to work requirements and exemptions,” they noted, but 30% of all nonelderly Medicaid adults say that they have never used a computer, 21% do not use the Internet, and 41% do not use email, based on analysis of 2016 National Health Interview Survey data.

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