UNH research finds 3 in 10 Medicaid recipients could be affected by a work requirement
DURHAM — New research from the University of New Hampshire says that three in 10 Medicaid recipients could be affected by a potential work requirement.
Researchers at the Carsey School of Public Policy said several states have petitioned the federal government to have the option to enforce work requirements for those receiving Medicaid in their state.
Specific waiver requests vary by state but could have broad implications for Medicaid recipients across the nation. They typically include a requirement for able-bodied, adult Medicaid recipients to complete a certain number of hours spent working, or in some kind of other approved activity, like job training or looking for work, according to researchers. Children under 19, pregnant or recently postpartum women, people with disabilities, and sole caretakers of young children are typically excluded from these proposed work requirements.
About 31.3 percent of adult Medicaid recipients would be potentially impacted by adding a work requirement because they likely did not work enough in the past year or were engaged in some other non-exempt activity, according to the study.
These workers, who worked less than part time or less than a full year and those seeking work, make up around 80 percent of potentially impacted Medicaid recipients, researchers said. The remainder of those potentially subjected to a work requirement reported that they did not work in the past year either because they were caring for a family member or the household or for some other reason they did not disclose.
Researchers said most Medicaid recipients would be exempt from potential work requirements — and the majority of those who would be subjected are already looking for work, or working at least some of the time. However, researchers found that those potentially affected by the proposed employment requirements are disproportionately from vulnerable populations including racial-ethnic minorities, older adults, people with disabilities, and the least educated.
"As state policymakers consider Medicaid-related work requirements, it is worthwhile to consider the administrative costs of implementing this kind of waiver alongside the benefits of cost savings associated with reducing Medicaid rolls and the expenses related to increasing the uninsured low-income population,” the researchers said. “In both rural and urban places, legislators should consider whether the consequences to families losing health insurance coverage outweigh the relative benefits of enforcing work requirements.”
Researchers utilized data from the 2016 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement for this study.
The entire report can be viewed here.