AP, July 13, 2018
Andrew DeMillo

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — More than 7,000 people on Arkansas’ Medicaid expansion didn’t meet a requirement that they report at least 80 hours of work in June and face the threat of losing their coverage if they fail to comply sometime before the end of this year, state officials said Friday.

Arkansas’ requirement took effect last month. Participants in the program lose coverage if they don’t meet the work requirement for three months in a calendar year.

The Department of Human Services said most of the more than 27,000 people on the expansion program who were notified they were subject to the new requirement were exempt or met the requirement. The federal government earlier this year approved the state’s plan to impose the work requirement as part of Arkansas’ expansion, which uses Medicaid funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents.

“The first report is encouraging,” Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. “We are only two months in, and those on Arkansas Works are still learning the system. DHS has worked hard to make sure that everybody understands the requirements and how to comply.”

Arkansas was the first state to implement a Medicaid work requirement after the Trump administration said it would allow states to require participants to work to keep coverage. Kentucky was the first state to win approval for a work requirement, but a federal judge blocked the state from enforcing it last month. [...]

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