- Associated Press - Thursday, April 26, 2018

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Residents enrolled in an Arkansas health care plan will soon need an email account and computer access to keep their coverage.

Some lawmakers expressed concern Wednesday about the Arkansas Works requirement, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. The requirement will apply to residents covered by Medicaid-subsidized plans.

The Legislature formed a task force last year that’s made up of legislators and industry representatives to recommend ways to improve the state’s job training program. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved the requirement last month.

Enrollees would be required to log in to a state website and report whether they hit the mandatory 80 hours a month working, spent time on an approved activity or show they qualified for exemptions.

But Democratic Sen. Eddie Cheatham of Crossett said internet access is scarce in some areas.

Kelley Linck is the Human Services Department’s chief of legislative and governmental affairs. She said help will be available to affected enrollees.

Computers will be available to enrollees at each of the department’s 83 offices statewide. Linck said employees at those offices “will walk (enrollees) through and help them and quite honestly probably do a lot of the reporting for them through conversation.”

Department Director Cindy Gillespie said the agency has been increasing the number of available computers.

Daryl Bassett, director of the Department of Workforce Services, said he anticipates about half the enrollees who are subject to the work requirement will go to his department for help.

“If we get more, then we are going to have to make some adjustments with regard to our manpower,” such as by using “intermittent staff,” said Bassett.

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


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