Not Hitting the Pause Button: CMS Approves Utah’s Work and Work Alternative Requirements after Court Upends Similar Policies in Kentucky and Arkansas
On March 27, a federal court blocked both Arkansas and Kentucky from conditioning Medicaid benefits on work or state-specified work alternative activities. For Kentucky, it was a déjà vu decision: back in June of 2018, the same court blocked the state’s initial attempt to implement a similar policy. We discussed the first Kentucky case in an earlier post.
On March 27, 2019, a federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued decisions that are vitally important for Medicaid beneficiaries. The two cases, Gresham v. Azar and Stewart v. Azar, halted efforts in Arkansas and Kentucky to condition receipt of Medicaid benefits on securing work or volunteer activities, as well as other cuts to coverage. The court’s rulings reinforced an earlier decision against Kentucky’s work requirement and extended a similar reasoning to the Arkansas requirement.
No husbands or wives should have to completely bankrupt themselves when their spouses need Medicaid to fund home- and community-based services (HCBS) such as help with daily activities like eating, bathing, and dressing. Yet unless Congress acts, bankruptcy or nursing home admission are exactly what could happen in many such cases in the near future because an important provision that allows spousal impoverishment protections for spouses of Medicaid HCBS recipients is set to expire on March 31.
As AARP’s recent report highlights, the majority of Americans prefer to remain in their homes as long as possible. Helping to enable that are home- and community-based services (HCBS)—the kind of long-term supports provided to older adults and individuals with disabilities residing in communities as they age.
Medicaid is a crucial program for millions of people. But not everyone understands who’s eligible and the benefits; moreover, the program continues to evolve. Here’s what you and all consumers should know.
Earlier this year, Arkansas became the first state to implement a policy that—with some exemptions, including for people age 50 and older—requires adult Medicaid enrollees to work 80 hours every month at the state’s minimum wage. The policy has serious implementation problems, and is quickly ncreasing the number of uninsured in the state.
For decades Medicaid has served as a critical safety net for millions of people with limited income and resources. Nearly 70 million people, including millions of children and adults with disabilities and low-income older adults, rely on the Medicaid program for health care coverage and assistance with basic life functions such as eating, dressing, and bathing.
A major demographic shift is happening. The ages 85+ population is projected to triple between 2015 and 2050. In comparison, the population younger than age 65 will increase by only 12 percent.
As the month of June winded down, a federal court issued a ruling invalidating Kentucky’s effort to attach work and other community engagement requirements to receive Medicaid benefits.
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