Study: Coverage could decline with Medicaid work requirement

A new analysis released Wednesday estimates 26,000 to 36,000 low-income Montanans could lose health coverage if state lawmakers decide to pass a bill that would require Medicaid enrollees ages 19 to 59 to work 80 hours per month in order to receive benefits.

The report, compiled independently by researchers at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, comes as the Legislature ponders how to continue Montana’s Medicaid expansion program that is scheduled to sunset this year unless a plan is agreed upon.

The program, which passed in 2015, provides benefits to nearly 100,000 Montanans.

The analysis, which is based on a Feb. 5 draft of the Medicaid Reform and Integrity Act, says call-for-work requirements, otherwise known as “community engagement,” would also lead to a spike in premiums for current enrollees.