An additional 1,232 people failed to meet Arkansas' Medicaid work requirement in December, for a total of 18,000 people dropped from government-funded coverage since the rules kicked in seven months ago.
The latest tally will continue to offer fodder to critics who say the state's requirements are ineffective at their goal of moving people from Medicaid, where they may be unemployed or at an underpaid job, and onto employment that offers private health insurance coverage.
The rules stipulate that to keep Medicaid in Arkansas, certain beneficiaries have to report to the state that they have worked, volunteered, or taken classes for at least 80 hours a month. Three consecutive months of failing work, or to report the work, results in a loss of Medicaid. At the start of the program, people were only allowed to log their hours online, but beginning Dec. 19, people were allowed to begin reporting their work requirements by phone.