Wisconsin Delays Medicaid Work Requirement

Wisconsin had planned to start Nov. 1 a work requirement and other stipulations for childless adults on Medicaid, but the state has delayed implementation until early next year.

Former Republican Gov. Scott Walker proposed limiting Medicaid coverage to four years for poor adults without dependent children unless they work, train for a job or participate in certain other activities. The plan, approved by the federal government Oct. 31, 2018, was set to start Nov. 1.

In a Nov. 1 report to the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm said the department is working with the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, to finalize details of the work requirement.

In September, Palm asked the finance committee to delay implementation of the work requirement until Jan. 30. The committee granted the extension through a passive approval in October.

Three other aspects of Walker’s plan are set to begin Feb. 1, Palm said. They include charging monthly premiums of up to $8, charging emergency room visit co-payments of $8 for non-emergencies, and allowing members to reduce their premiums through “healthy behaviors,” such as not smoking or maintaining a healthy weight.

Nine states have had Medicaid work requirements approved, but in three of the states — Arkansas, Kentucky and New Hampshire — the programs have been set aside by the courts, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Only one other state, Indiana, has implemented the program. Wisconsin, Arizona, Michigan, Ohio and Utah have not.