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National Medicaid Work Requirement Support In Line With Indiana Plans

By Jake Harper, Side Effects Public Media | Published on in Government, Health, Politics, Statewide News

A national move by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to support a work requirement for Medicaid coverage could have roots in Indiana.  The federal agency’s director, Seema Verma, redesigned Indiana’s Medicaid program.  And that program submitted a work requirement proposal to the federal government last summer.  Side Effects Public Media’s Jake Harper reports.

Indiana submitted a proposal in July that would add a work requirement to its Medicaid program. The state is still awaiting formal approval. But the federal policy letter is a bad sign for some advocates, who worry that people will lose coverage, due to confusion and administrative errors.

“Somewhere along the way paperwork gets lost, there’s a miscommunication.”

Adam Mueller heads advocacy efforts for Indiana Legal Services, which helps people navigate Indiana’s Medicaid.

Under the proposed work requirement, people will have to prove that they’re working, or performing some other qualifying activity such as volunteering. Or that they’re exempt. And that could be difficult.

“Folks have sometimes had difficulty proving something as easy as residency.”

And he says people in Medicaid are often dealing with crises – they may move a lot, or change phone numbers

“So there are a lot of things that can trip folks up, and that could lead to falling through the cracks.”

The federal government is expected to approve Indiana’s work requirement proposal sometime this month.