News from the Alaska State Legislature, the Office of Senator Kelly
For Immediate Release: February 19, 2018

Medicaid Work Requirement Bill Introduced in Senate

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JUNEAU – Today, a bill requiring able-bodied recipients of Medicaid to pursue employment, volunteer service or subsistence activities, as a condition of eligibility, was introduced in the Alaska State Senate.

“Obviously, we need to exempt those who are unable to work due to advanced age or health limitations,” said Senate President Pete Kelly (R-Fairbanks) the bill’s sponsor. “However, the opportunity to contribute to one’s community through work or volunteerism should not be denied to any Alaskan. The requirement for work is not a punishment; it’s a privilege.”

On January 11 of this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced a new policy designed to assist states in improving Medicaid enrollee health and well-being through work and community engagement incentives under section 1115 of the Social Security Act. SB 193 is an effort to take advantage of the new policy by directing the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services to apply for a section 1115 waiver to establish work requirements for eligible adults.

Under SB 193, eligible Medicaid recipients would be required to work, enroll in educational or training programs, volunteer, or engage in subsistence activities, for a minimum of 20 hours each week.  

Recipients under 18 or over 65 years of age, those who are unable to work for medical reasons, pregnant women, and other members of vulnerable groups, are exempt from the requirements. The bill also ensures that the work requirement does not prevent a recipient with a substance abuse disorder from obtaining appropriate treatment.

SB 193 was referred to the Senate Health and Social Services Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.

For more information, contact Senate Majority Press Secretary Daniel McDonald at (907) 465-4066.

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