Medicaid Work Requirements Are Coming…What Does It Mean?

Medicaid work requirements were written into state law in June of 2018 and were approved by the federal government over a year ago. Now the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is preparing to implement work requirements, and IF things continue, people who have the Healthy Michigan Plan may lose their health care if they do not meet the work requirements.

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People who may be subject to Medicaid work requirements:

  • Enrolled in the Healthy Michigan Plan (HMP)

  • Current Michigan resident

  • Age 19-62

  • Not disabled, pregnant, or qualifying for another exemption (listed below)

What are the changes?

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  • Requirement to work or participate in other qualifying activities for at least 80 hours per month.

  • HMP beneficiaries must report to MDDHS on a monthly basis and are allowed 3 months of non-compliance (not reporting, or reporting but not participating in qualifying activities) within 12 months.

  • Loss of eligibility for non-compliance. After 3 months of non-compliance, beneficiaries will lose their healthcare coverage (HMP).

What counts as work or a qualifying activity?

  • Employment or self-employment

  • Education directly related to employment (school, college, etc.)

  • Participation in a substance use disorder treatment program

  • Community service with a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) for 3 months only every 12 months

Who qualifies for an exemption?

  • Caretaker of a family member under 6 years old

  • Beneficiaries receiving temporary or permanent long-term disability benefits

  • Full-time students

  • Pregnant women

  • Individuals who have a medical professional’s order stating they are medically frail or have a medical condition that limits their ability to work

  • Beneficiaries who have been incarcerated in the last 6 months

  • Beneficiaries receiving Michigan unemployment benefits

  • Individuals who are receiving SNAP (food assistance) or TANF (cash assistance) benefits.

What is the timeline for work requirements to begin?

  • September 2019

    DHHS is sending Exemption Forms and Letters to HMP members who need to tell DHHS they qualify for an exemption. If you qualify for an exemption, fill out the form and FAX it to 517-432-6079. Do not mail it.

  • October 2019

    DHHS will send letters to people who are listed as having an exemption (see above). A separate letter will also be mailed to HMP members who are 62 or older because they are also exempt.

  • January 2020

    HMP members who have not qualified for an exemption will need to start reporting their work to MDHHS. When there is more information about how to report, there will be a new blog post. Until then, stay tuned…

Unless…

State advocates are hoping to stop Medicaid work requirements with a lawsuit. And they NEED PLAINTIFFS! They are looking for current Healthy Michigan Plan members who will be adversely affected by the new requirements.

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Examples of people who would be good plaintiffs include:

  • single working parents with children between the ages of 6-11;

  • people whose hours per week are highly variable or dependent on factors outside their control;

  • people who may not be medically limited but have jobs that are less than 3 hours/day. This might include school lunch supervisors or school bus drivers, part-time home healthcare workers or restaurant workers who may have reduced hours when business is slow.

  • People with sporadic hours like substitute teachers, recently incarcerated people who are looking for a job, and seasonal job workers are also good candidates.

If you have a good candidate, please have them contact Mario Azzi at the Center for Civil Justice: 800-724-7441 or mazzi@ccj-mi.org OR Lisa Ruby at Michigan Poverty Law Program 734-998-6100 ext. 617 or lruby@mplp.org. Click here for a flyer to print.

If you have any questions or concerns about Medicaid work requirements, ask us in the comments below or you can always call the WHP office at 734-544-3030. We are also open for walk-ins 9am-4pm Monday through Friday at 555 Towner, Ypsilanti, MI.

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