- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas Department of Human Services said a check on incomes of those enrolled in the state’s private option program and other Medicaid recipients has found more than 47,000 no longer qualify for the services and are likely to lose them.

Agency spokeswoman Amy Webb told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1HYmMOs ) that coverage is scheduled to end for around 33,000 recipients on Saturday and for around 14,000 on Sept. 1. The state’s “private option” Medicaid expansion uses federal funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents.

The first round of annual income checks began last month for Medicaid recipients, who had been enrolled for at least a year and whose eligibility is governed by rules that went into effect Jan. 1, 2014, under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The Human Services Department was set to begin the income checks last fall, but it said the checks were delayed because implementing the electronic enrollment and eligibility verification system took longer than expected. The department is currently using the partially completed system to check the incomes of thousands of Medicaid recipients each day.

By Oct. 1, the department expects to have checked the incomes of about 600,000 recipients, including about 200,000 low-income adults covered by the private option.

Citing concerns about costs, Gov. Asa Hutchinson called on the Legislature earlier this year to create a task force to recommend a program that would replace the private option starting in 2017, the year the state is expected to pick up part of the cost.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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