Arkansas’ Medicaid spending drops by $22M
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas’ Medicaid spending fell by $22 million in the fiscal year that ended in June.
The decrease came despite slightly higher spending on Arkansas Works, the state’s expanded Medicaid program, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.
Arkansas Works spending rose to $1.91 billion, a less than 1 percent increase. That was offset by a $31 million decrease in spending on the traditional Medicaid program, which covers primarily low-income families and low-income people who are elderly or disabled.
The state Department of Human Services said spending on both parts of the Medicaid program fell by 0.3 percent, to $7.1 billion.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson credited lower enrollment to the state’s efforts to slow the growth of spending on the program.
“That is the first time we’re aware of that’s ever happened in Arkansas history,” the governor said.
Enrollment in Arkansas Works and Medicaid fell from just over 1 million to about 959,000 from July 2016- June 2018, according to Human Services Department records.
The federal government paid about 70 percent of the cost of the Medicaid program and a larger share of the cost of Arkansas Works. The federal government paid the full cost of Medicaid expansion from 2014-16 under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Arkansas became responsible for 5 percent of the cost last year. The state’s share will increase to 7 percent in 2019 and then to 10 percent for 2020 and beyond.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com