In 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a new policy allowing states to implement work and community engagement requirements for certain Medicaid enrollees.

Since then, 16 states, including West Virginia’s Appalachian neighbors Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and North Carolina have either implemented or proposed new laws requiring people receiving Medicaid to verify their participation in approved activities, such as employment, job search, or job training programs, in order to receive health coverage.

The effort to institute Medicaid Work Requirement in Kentucky was embroiled in federal litigation, and efforts in other states have been similarly contentious.

With the West Virginia legislative session approaching in January, there is some speculation that West Virginia could be the next state to adopt a Medicaid Work Requirement.

Given the importance of Medicaid in West Virginia’s rural communities, a Medicaid Work Requirement would have a profound impact on coverage and the provision of health services.



Presenting on the webinar will be:

• Simon F. Haeder, Ph.D., M.P.A., the author of the WVU report, Making Medicaid Work in the Mountain State.
• Ted Boettner, Executive Director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.
• Kat Stoll, Policy Director, West Virginians for Affordable Health Care.
• Susan Jo Thomas, Executive Director, Covering Kids and Families of Indiana.


Haeder’s report, released by the John D. Rockefeller School of Policy and Politics at WVU, found that any changes that limit Medicaid enrollment or reimbursement “will have significant detrimental effects on the health and well-being of West Virginians.”

In order to help health professionals, students and advocates learn more about the potential impacts of a Medicaid Work Requirement in this state, the West Virginia Rural Health Association is hosting a free webinar on January 22 featuring experts on the work requirement proposal and representatives of health care providers in West Virginia.

“About a third of West Virginians rely on Medicaid, and the program has become the backbone of the state’s health infrastructure,” Haeder wrote.

Haeder’s research estimates that, if a Kentucky-style approach (a work requirement applicable to the entire Medicaid population from ages 19 to 65, with certain exemptions for the disabled, students, caregivers of children or people with disabilities) was instituted in West Virginia coverage losses for nonexempt individuals alone could range from 66,000 to 112,000 West Virginians.

“Great care must be taken by policymakers to avoid unintended consequences and inequities,” the report finds. “While crucial for these individual beneficiaries, Medicaid also serves as the backbone of the larger health care infrastructure in the state, including for hospitals, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and Rural Health Clinics, as well as major health systems like West Virginia University Medicine and CAMC Health System.”

“Any changes, including the implementation of work requirements, block grants, or a reversal of the Medicaid expansion, that limit enrollment or reimbursement will have significant detrimental effects on the health and well-being of West Virginians.”

The WVRHA webinar is a unique and vital opportunity for anyone interested in healthcare in West Virginia to ask questions about the potential impact of a Medicaid Work Requirement, and to network with health providers and advocates with a vested interest in the state’s Medicaid system.