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New Medicaid Expansion Work Requirement Could Apply to As Many As 15,000 People

Sara Plourde for NHPR

State officials say they are still working out how much it will cost to enforce a newly approved work requirement for some beneficiaries of New Hampshire's expanded Medicaid program.

Last week the federal government approved a plan by the state to require some Medicaid-expansion recipients to complete at least 100 hours of so-called "community engagement" work each month, or lose their coverage.

Verifying that people are in compliance with that new requirement will fall to the Department of Health and Human Services. Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers said his office is still working out how much extra staffing will be needed to handle the task. But he did have an early estimate for how many people could be subject to the new requirement.

“We believe that there could be between 15,000 or 20,000 individuals who may not have a statutory exemption and they may not be working sufficient hours presently," Meyers said.

Meyers stressed that the final number of people subject to the requirement will likely be lower than that after other exemptions -like participation in a drug-treatment program or pregnancy- are accounted for.

In the meantime, he said his department is working to get the word out about the new rules.

“We’re trying to publicize it as much as possible so that we can address the issue," he said. "So that we can answer people’s questions, we can educate them as to what the requirement is, what all the qualifying activities are, what the exemptions are, how they can file for exemptions, how they can document their hours and report them to us, without it being burdensome to them.”

Meyers said his office will send estimates for the administrative costs of enforcing the requirement to the legislature by the end of the year.

He said it’s still unclear when the work requirement will be put in to effect.

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