CMS denies key provisions in Arizona’s request for changes in Medicaid
The CMS approved the least conservative aspects of Arizona’s request to tweak Medicaid in ways that would make consumers more financially responsible for their coverage.
The agency denied Arizona’s request to require beneficiaries to search for jobs while on the program and it rejected locking people out of coverage for six months if they failed to pay premiums.
Also refused was a request that beneficiaries living under the federal poverty level pay premiums.
The CMS will allow Arizona to charge beneficiaries with incomes above the federal poverty level premiums. Those funds will be funneled into a health savings account and cover services such as dental and vision. People living below the poverty level can then receive dental and vision coverage by volunteering to pay into the account or having a charity or third party contribute on their behalf.
In place of a job search requirement, Arizona will set up a work search and job training program for enrollees.
Federal regulators said they felt the proposals would undermine access to care in Arizona. Medicaid covers 1.7 million people in the state. Since expanding Medicaid, 315,000 people have gained coverage.