Kentucky on Friday became the first state to make use of Thursday's guidelines from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services permitting states to test work requirements for Medicaid recipients. Kentucky applied for permission to do this in 2016, and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) said the "community engagement and employment initiative" will be gradually phased in later this year.
The rules require able-bodied adult Medicaid recipients ages 19-64 to engage in at least 80 hours of "employment activities" each month, a category including jobs, community service, education, and training. Some exemptions tied to health, family commitments, and personal history will apply; for example, pregnant women and people who are the primary caregiver of a dependent will be exempt.
"Kentucky will now lead on this issue," Bevin said Friday, arguing that Medicaid recipients "want the dignity associated with being able to earn and have engagement in the very things they're receiving."