Kentucky seeks stricter Medicaid work requirements
After nearly a year of negotiations, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has submitted an amended Medicaid waiver request to the CMS that proposes a stricter work requirement than the state originally requested.
The original 1115 waiver, submitted last August and dubbed Kentucky Health, would require able-bodied adults without dependents to work or participate in job training or community engagement such as volunteering for at least five hours a week, gradually increasing to 20 hours a week after a year.
Amendments submitted to the CMS last week would, among other things, eliminate the proposed ramp-up period for the work requirement.
This change mirrors Kentucky’s current policy for residents receiving food stamps.
Bevin also suggested locking beneficiaries out of coverage for up to six months if they obtain a new job or salary and don’t alert the state so that it can confirm the person is still eligible for Medicaid.
Dustin Pugel, a research and policy associate for the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, told reporters that the change will cause more beneficiaries to lose their Medicaid coverage because many have jobs with variable income, including retail, restaurant and construction jobs. If those people fail to notify the state of their frequent changes, they could lose coverage.
Bevin estimates that these and other administrative changes will result in Kentucky Health saving $2.4 billion in federal and state dollars over the five-year waiver period, more than the $2.2 billion in savings stemming from the original waiver.