73,000 people lose Medicaid coverage in 1st month of Arkansas' redetermination speedrun

Arkansas terminated Medicaid coverage for almost 73,000 people in April, including 44,667 people who had their eligibility extended during the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

The most common reason coverage was terminated was individuals failing to return renewal forms, according to data the Arkansas Department of Human Services published May 8. Of the 72,802 cases closed, around 75 percent were due to individuals failing to return requested forms and information or because the state could not locate their correct address. 

Though states have a full year to redetermine who is eligible for Medicaid, Arkansas is planning to complete the process in six months, the shortest timeline of any state. In 2018 and 2019, the state disenrolled around 25,000 people from Medicaid each month, according to the state's data. 

April 2023 was the first month states were allowed to remove individuals from Medicaid rolls since continuous coverage requirements were implemented in 2020. 

According to the state's data, the state has added 145,475 Medicaid members since March 2020. More than one-third of the state's 3 million residents are enrolled in Medicaid. 

The state has attempted to implement work requirements on the program. In 2018, Arkansas implemented a work requirement that resulted in 18,000 people losing coverage before a federal judge struck down the requirement. 

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders in February asked the federal government for a waiver to reinstate work requirements. 

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