Gov. Hutchinson’s Medicaid Changes Approved By U.S. HHS
LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services approved all but one of Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s proposed changes to the state’s Medicaid program.
Hutchinson made the announcement Wednesday (Nov. 7) after two days of meetings in Washington D.C. this week to reach an agreement on the details that will become known as Arkansas Works come 2017. The program will add changes to Arkansas’ private option, which uses Medicaid funds to buy coverage for low-income Arkansans.
The changes include:
- referring enrollees to job-training programs,
- charging premiums of $13 a month to enrollees with incomes above the poverty level,
- limiting coverage for medical expenses accrued before an applicant enrolls,
- providing coverage to some enrollees through employer health plans.
The only part of Hutchinson’s plan HHS did not approve was assistance to all large and small businesses that provide health insurance to their employees. HHS limited the incentives to businesses with 50 or fewer employees that previously did not offer health insurance and businesses with 50 or fewer employees that previously did not offer fully Affordable Care Act-compliant health insurance.
Hutchinson said he believes Arkansas Works will encourage enrollees to stay employed and to seek employment that will provide health coverage. The changes were approved to go into effect Jan. 1, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2021.
U.S. congressional leaders have pledged to repeal and replace President Obama’s healthcare law.