Work Requirement Added to AHCCCS

PHOENIX — About 126,000 Arizonans who get free health care will soon be required to work if they can. The Federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, last Friday approved

the state’s request that it will be allowed to add a “community engagement” requirement to some enrolled in the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state’s Medicaid program.

That means 80-hours a month of work, job search, part-time schooling, job training or organized community service, all of which has to be documented by the 10th day of the following month.

Those who don’t comply will find their benefits suspended for two months.

Last Friday’s announcement culminates multi-year efforts by Governor Doug Ducey who, since the first day of his administration, has sought to make work a condition of the program.

There are a host of exceptions, ranging from people with disabilities and those attending school on a full-time basis to women who are pregnant or have given birth in the past 60-days. And members of federally recognized Native American tribes also need not comply.

The state can’t begin enforcing the requirement until at least next January.