During the 2015 Legislative Session, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed a bill requiring AHCCCS to annually submit an Amendment to their 1115 Demonstration Waiver asking permission to implement the following requirements for “able-bodied adult” Medicaid members:
- Limit lifetime AHCCCS coverage for all able-bodied adults to 5 years except for certain circumstances;
- Require all able-bodied adults to become employed or actively seeking employment or attend school or a job training program;
- Require most members to verify monthly any changes in family income; and
- Ban eligible persons from enrolling in AHCCCS for 1 year if a member knowingly fails to report a change in income.
The Obama Administration officials denied these waiver requests in 2016, but the landscape in that regard looks very different today.
AzPHA submitted our response letter on this year’s waiver application back in February. Several hundred people and organizations turned also in comments regarding the waiver request. More than 90% of the commenters expressed concerns about the various items in the waiver including the 5-year limitation on benefits, monthly income reporting and other proposed requirements. Five percent of the commenters expressed support for the waiver request.
Arizona’s 2017 request to the federal government to tighten its Medicaid eligibility has been delayed by about 5 months, but all indications are that AHCCCS will submit the directed waiver to CMS in the near future. Signals from CMS suggest that all or most of the request will be approved this time (see this letter this letter from Seema Verma of CMS & and Secretary Price to governors for details).
Stephanie Innes from the AZ Daily Star wrote a good article over the weekend diving into how Arizona is Moving Ahead With Proposal To Add AHCCCS Work Requirements.
Stay tuned- although there’s not much our members can do to influence the outcome at this point.