Analysis: Work Requirements Could Knock 74,000 Off Medicaid Rolls

Oct 2, 2019

Remember those work requirements Republicans insisted on before passing Medicaid expansion?

They haven’t been implemented yet and the governor’s office is still negotiating with federal officials to strike a deal.

So far, Arkansas is the only state that has been able to implement the requirement for people to prove they have a job in order to get health insurance under Medicaid expansion.

Assuming the courts allow the requirement to stand, just how many people in Virginia might end up losing health insurance? Freddy Mejia at the Commonwealth Institute says it could be as many as 74,000 people.  “We think that if Virginia moves forward, based on some of the similarities between Arkansas and Virginia, that it is feasible that 23 percent of Virginia’s population could lose coverage.”

That’s one out of four people benefitting from the newly expanded program who could be kicked out of their health insurance plan for not filing the right paperwork at the right time to the right person.

Adam Searing at Georgetown University says Virginia would be taking on a new administrative burden, demanding all that information and then follow through by kicking people out of Medicaid plans.  “The problem is that is another layer of administrative red tape, and if you make a mistake you don’t just get a nasty letter. You lose your health coverage.” 

Last week, Virginia’s Secretary of Health and Human Resources sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Washington pressing for federal money to pay for work training as part of ongoing negotiations between the two on a waiver application that’s still unresolved.

A spokeswoman for the governor says negotiations are ongoing.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.