Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Wednesday the state Department of Human Services is seeking federal approval to require participants in a Medicaid program to work, volunteer or enroll in classes.
The new requirement would apply to the roughly 300,000 able-bodied adults enrolled in the state's ARHOME program, an initiative that uses Medicaid dollars to buy private health insurance for participants.
Unlike the state's previous Medicaid work requirement, ARHOME recipients would not lose Medicaid coverage if they do not meet the requirement. Instead, their coverage would revert to traditional Medicaid fee-for-service coverage, Sanders said.
"Arkansas is still too far behind in making sure able-bodied citizens are working," the governor said during a news conference. "We need a clear path for Arkansans to move from government dependency to financial independence."
The ARHOME program provides enhanced benefits compared to traditional Medicaid coverage, including additional health and social supports, said Kristi Putnam, secretary of Human Services.
The department plans to publish a draft Medicaid waiver amendment April 23, which would remain open for a 30-day public comment period. On June 1, the state plans to submit the waiver amendment to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. State officials are proposing Jan. 1, 2024, as the effective date for the new requirement, Putnam said.