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Arkansas Works modifications approved

A new Medicaid work requirement is in store for beneficiaries of Arkansas Works. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved modifications made by the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) to the current Arkansas Works program. While you can expect more details throughout the implementation process, we wanted to provide you with a summary of what to expect.

What is out of scope?
The original plan to transition Arkansas Works members who are at 105% to 138% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to the federal Marketplace is not included in the modifications approved by CMS. For now, it is business as usual for all existing and new members who fall in that FPL range.
  • Members who fall within 105% to 138% of FPL are exempt from the work requirement.
  • The work requirement will not impact members who are under the age of 30 or over the age of 50 — these members should receive a letter that explains their exemption. It is important that everyone knows this exemption.
  • The work requirement does not apply to traditional Medicaid recipients who are not on Arkansas Works.
What is in scope? What is the plan?
Arkansas Works members who do not meet the criteria above as out of scope will receive information about the newly approved work requirement on or around March 15, 2018. Below is a list of key implementation milestones shared by DHS:
  • March 15: DHS sends a generic letter to the entire universe of Arkansas Works clients with a general description of the upcoming changes to the program.
  • April 1: DHS notifies all members subject to the work requirement with instructions on how to register for the new work requirement portal, and/or how to link their existing Access Arkansas account, if applicable. The emphasis will be for eligible members to get registered and ready for forthcoming notices when action is required. Additionally, the notification will include more detail about exemptions. Members can submit their request to receive an exemption on this portal.
  • In May: The first batch of impacted members who are subject to work requirement (about 25% of the estimated 39,000 eligible members) will receive a notice that they are required to comply with the work requirement in June.
    • In June, another 25% will receive notification that their required activity begins in July.
    • In July, another 25% will receive notification that their activity begins in August.
    • Finally, in August, the last 25% will receive notification that their activity will begin in September.
Depending on the member’s start date (June, July, August or September as shown above), three non-compliant months in a calendar year will result in the member losing their insurance for the rest of the year. The earliest the member could get back on the Arkansas Works program will be the following year.

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans to notify agents if any of their clients become non-compliant in the work requirement.