Medicaid Work/Community Engagement Requirements May Be Phased In

Back in January CMS approved Arizona’s request to include work requirements and/or community engagement and reporting requirements as a condition of Medicaid enrollment beginning on January 1, 2020.  

The work requirement/community engagement Waiver request was filed back in 2018 and is mandated by Senate Bill 1092 (from 2015) which requires AHCCCS to ask CMS’ permission to implement new eligibility requirements for “able-bodied adults".  Folks that are exempted from the upcoming requirements include:

  • Pregnant women up to the 60th day post-pregnancy

  • Former Arizona foster youth up to age 26

  • Members of federally recognized tribes

  • Designated caretakers of a child under age 18

  • Caregivers who are responsible for the care of an individual with a disability

  • Members determined to have a serious mental illness (SMI)

  • Members who are medically frail

  • Members who have an acute medical condition

  • Members who are in active treatment for a substance use disorder

  • Members with a disability recognized under federal law and individuals receiving long term disability benefits

  • Full-time high school, college, or trade school students

  • Survivors of domestic violence

  • Individuals who are homeless

At last week's State Medicaid Advisory Council meeting, AHCCCS announced some changes that they hope to make in order to make the transition easier for their members that don't qualify for exemptions when implementation begins. 

They're hoping to gradually phase in the AHCCCS Works program by geographic area (subject to CMS approval). If approved, the program will be implemented in three phases- beginning no sooner than 1/1/20:

Phase 1: Most Urbanized Counties: Maricopa, Pima, and Yuma

Phase 2: Semi-Urbanized Counties: Cochise, Coconino, Mohave, Pinal, Santa Cruz, & Yavapai

Phase 3: Least Urbanized Counties: Apache, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, & Navajo

The idea behind the phase in is to:

  • Establish community engagement supports for members in regions with limited employment, educational and training opportunities, accessible transportation, and child care services;

  • Give the State time to assess the availability of community engagement resources in rural areas and address gaps; and because 

  • Counties with a higher percentage of urban populations are likely to have sufficient community engagement supports compared to counties with a higher percentage of rural populations.