LETTER TO LAWMAKERS EXPRESSES CONCERNS ABOUT WORK REQUIREMENT
RICHMOND_ On behalf of more than 1 million members in Virginia, AARP Virginia State Director Jim Dau urges the General Assembly to expand the state’s Medicaid program to provide coverage for more low-income workers, including 95,000 people between the ages of 50 and 64.
“AARP Virginia applauds the bipartisan progress of Virginia’s legislators and leaders in their efforts to expand health care coverage for nearly 400,000 low-income Virginia adults − especially for the 95,000 Virginians in the 50-64 age group who stand to gain coverage,” Dau said in a letter to lawmakers. “AARP Virginia was one of many groups that worked tirelessly in recent years to close the health care coverage gap and we have a strong desire to see this expansion finalized in the 2018 Special Session.”
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members nationwide, and over 1 million members in Virginia, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment.
Dau’s letter informed legislators–who have been meeting in a special session since April 11 in efforts to resolve the Commonwealth’s budget—that the organization has concerns about the current proposal’s work requirement.
“We encourage Virginia legislators to carefully consider how these proposals will affect many older Virginians, family caregivers, and Virginia taxpayers,” he wrote.
Dau said that the proposed work requirement administrative requirements could cause people to be denied coverage inappropriately, and that it could cost the state more money.
“AARP Virginia believes that conditioning the receipt of Medicaid on work, education, job search, volunteering, or any other activity is counter to the Medicaid statute’s objective,” Dau said. “Such requirements would also present an unnecessary barrier to health coverage for a sector of Virginia’s population that is most in need of coverage.”
He wrote that AARP Virginia has serious concerns with the proposal’s imposition of a lock-out period until the next coverage year for beneficiaries who fail to meet work requirements for any three-month period.
“We believe that lock-out periods for low-income beneficiaries with serious health needs would have particularly harsh consequences,” Dau said. “For example, a beneficiary with a chronic health condition may lose access to necessary medication.”
Dau said AARP Virginia welcomes the inclusion of a list of qualifying exemptions to the work requirement, including categories based on age, disability, medical frailty, and status as a primary caregiver of a dependent with a disability.
“While we believe that the caregiver exemption should be broadened to ensure that all beneficiaries who are family caregivers will be provided an exemption, we are pleased that caregiving services for a non-dependent relative or other person with a chronic, disabling health condition is included in the list,” he said.
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.