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State Can Now Mandate That Medicaid Recipients Work in Order to Receive Benefits

The Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services announced on January 11th that states have the authority to require anyone who has or applies for Medicaid benefits to prove that they have a job before receiving or continuing to receive Medicaid coverage.

Medicaid is a health coverage funded by the State and federal government that is available to low income earners. States manage and run their Medicaid program and can impose different requirements related to income levels, but they have never been allowed to also require people to work in order to get benefits.

Many people in government on both the state level and in Congress have expressed an interest in imposing this type of requirement on Medicaid beneficiaries because they believe it would help get people off of the program, which uses a lot of tax dollars annually to fund.

The new guidance from CMS does widen the scope a little beyond just a work requirement. Any person who is receiving skilled training, is enrolled in school, is volunteering or who is a caregiver may be deemed as meeting the new state “work” requirements.  Another caveat to this CMS work requirement on Medicaid coverage is that it is only imposed on able-bodied, working-aged adults, which means that anyone who is disabled, elderly, too young to work, or pregnant, won’t have to meet the work requirement as a condition to receive Medicaid coverage.