Almost 17K Arkansans have lost Medicaid coverage due to work requirements

Nearly 17,000 people have lost Medicaid coverage in Arkansas because they did not comply with the state’s work requirements, according to new state data released Monday.

Arkansas began phasing in work requirements for Medicaid beneficiaries in August. In the first three months the requirements have been in effect, more than 12,000 people were removed from Medicaid.

In just the past month, the state terminated the coverage of 4,655 people who either did not work the required 80 hours or failed to report their work to the state for three straight months.

There are nearly 2,000 people with two strikes against them who are at risk for losing coverage next month.

However, people who lost coverage at any point during 2018 can re-apply starting Jan. 1.

Arkansas became the first state ever to implement work requirements after gaining approval from the Trump administration earlier this year.

Under the rules, recipients must work, go to school, volunteer or search for jobs for at least 80 hours a month or be stripped of their coverage until the following year.

Arkansas exempts beneficiaries who are pregnant, medically frail, have a dependent child in the home, are caring for an incapacitated person or are already working. The work requirements only apply to low-income childless adults who gained coverage through ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion.