Second phase of work requirement to begin January
More changes are coming to Arkansas Works work-requirement program in 2019. We’ll discuss how to help your clients keep their plans.
Beginning in January 2019, the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) will implement Phase II of the work requirement plan, which requires enrollees to work, volunteer or do job training for 80 hours per month to keep their Arkansas Works plan.
Here’s who is affected in Phase II*:
Enrollees ages 19 to 29
(Phase I was individuals age 30 – 49)
Enrollees below 138% of federal poverty level (FPL)
(Phase I only included enrollees below 100% of FPL)
Not everyone’s work requirement will begin at the same time. In early November, DHS will begin sending this letter to all Arkansas Works enrollees who were excluded from the 2018 work requirement explaining when their work requirement begins. They’ll follow this “Get ready” letter with specific letters that let your clients know when their reporting months will start or if they’re exempt**.
Our understanding is DHS plans to phase in all enrollees who earn between 100 and 138% of FPL first. We expect the overwhelming majority of these enrollees will be exempt, as they’re likely employed to be earning above 100% of FPL. Next, DHS will undergo a six-month transition of those 19- to 29-year-old enrollees who are below 100% of FPL.
DHS is supposed to send details of when each impacted client actually transitions into the work-requirement program by mid-November. We’ll make this information available on your Blueprint for Agents Arkansas Works report as soon as we receive it.
What can you do now?
- Be aware of the upcoming changes and letters in case you receive a call
- Continue outreach and education activities with work-requirement eligible clients
- If a client needs help, refer them to Arkansas Blue Cross
Your clients will have to link their current Access Arkansas account to their Arkansas Works reporting account before they can begin reporting their work activity or exemption. Visit arkbluecross.com/reference to find a member’s reference number and status.
Clients have to report their work activity on access.arkansas.gov each month.They can designate Arkansas Blue Cross or an agent as their registered reporter to report their hours for them each month, if they so choose.
It is important for Arkansas Works enrollees to report their work each month. If they fail to report their work for any three months in a calendar year when reporting is required, they will lose their Arkansas Works health insurance coverage.
* This has no impact on your on- and off-exchange business.
** Arkansas Works enrollees known to be caring for a dependent, working more than 80 hours/month, etc.