Arkansas Works

Arkansas Works

The Arkansas Works Program provides health care coverage to Arkansans who are U.S. citizens and certain legally‐residing immigrants ages 19‐64 with household incomes below 138% of the Federal Poverty Level for their family size.

In 2019, some people between the ages of 19 and 49 who get their health insurance through the Arkansas Works Medicaid program are required to report 80 hours of activities a month to keep their insurance. Those activities could be work, education, some job searching, volunteer activities, or a mix of all these. The activities or exemptions for a month should be reported by the 5th of the following month.

 

Do you get your health insurance through Arkansas Works?

You may need to report your work and community engagement hours to keep your insurance.

Full-time students get a reporting exemption for 6 months. Classes count for part-time students, too!

Call DHS Helpline at 1-855-372-1084 or go to access.arkansas.gov to report seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

 

No. Enrollees can report activities by phone or online, and they can get in-person help with reporting by visiting their local county office.To report by phone, enrollees can call the DHS Helpline at 1-855-372-1084 seven days a week between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. beginning December 19, 2018.Enrollees can also report by phone to their insurance carrier at the numbers below on weekdays during business hours (and some Saturdays depending on the time of year and the carrier):

  • AmBetter: 1-877-617-0390

  • Arkansas BlueCross BlueShield: 1-800-800-4298

  • QualChoice: 1-866-838-9186

Enrollees can also call a trusted friend or Registered Reporter, which is someone who has gone through an online training through DHS to better understand what and how to report.Enrollees can report online at access.arkansas.gov daily between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

No. While everyone between the ages of 19 and 49 who receives insurance through Arkansas Works will be subject to the work requirement, not everyone has to report each month because some people have life situations that results in a reporting exemption.

Some reporting exemptions can be detected automatically by DHS systems based on information someone has provided at application or another time.

Other exemptions must be reported periodically to DHS, because the agency would not have a way to know about that information. Reporting exemptions that need to be reported periodically include attending school full time, experiencing a short-term disability/inability to work, caring for someone who cannot care for themselves, and becoming pregnant recently.

If someone is subject to the work requirement and is attending school or an educational program they may qualify for a reporting exemption or be able to report education hours to meet the requirement, depending on their status as a full-time or part-time students.

Both full-time and part-time students need to report that they are attending school to let DHS know that. But students that are full-time or considered full-time by their school or program will receive a 6-month reporting exemption after they report their status.Part-time students can count the class hours, hours of instruction and training time related to their program to meet the requirement. They need to report each month, and they will likely need to report additional activities (like working, volunteering, or job searching) to get the hours to be in compliance.

Students can report activities and their full-time status through all of the methods listed above. Once the 6-month exemption for a full-time student expires, he or she will need to let DHS know if he or she is still a full-time student.

If the time to report/update the exemption falls during a school recess, vacation, or break (including summer break) and the student plans to attend or has registered to attend during the next regular fall or spring school term the student can report that they remain a full-time student. They may be asked to provide verification at a later time that they did, in fact, continue as a full-time student.

Enrollees (or someone on their behalf) may seek a Good Cause Exemption.

  • The request can be emailed to AWGoodCauseRequest@dhs.arkansas.gov. You can also make a request in person at the local county office. You can also call your local county office or the DHS Helpline at 1-855-372-1084.Good cause exemption requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

  • DHS has granted 471 Good Cause Exemption requests to date.

The Department of Workforce Services (DWS) is available to offer people across the state free services for finding work, preparing for the workforce, and building their skillsets. DWS staff members have met and served Arkansas Works enrollees at every level of the career ladder – from those who need to obtain their GED to those who have a college degree and need to find the right job for their skill sets and goals.

Enrollees can find options to help them cover the costs of education and career programs through the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.Enrollees can also call the DHS Helpline at 1-855-372-1084 if they need more help or have questions about resources in their areas.

A county-by-county resource guide is also available on the DHS Website by clicking on the Arkansas Works button or banner on the first page or visiting https://ardhs.sharepointsite.net/ARWorks/resource_dashboard/index.html. 

DHS provides information on resources to enrollees, including:

  • Letters to enrollees have included where to find free community clinics, Community Mental Health Centers, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and local health units.

  • An additional flyer was sent to those whose coverage has closed alerting them to resources in their areas.

  • Arkansas has a strong network of organizations that make it their mission to serve those with limited incomes and uninsured.

  • If individuals’ circumstances change, they may be eligible for other Medicaid categories. 

The State has responded to concerns and issues as those have come to its attention:

  • Based on enrollee and advocate feedback, expanded call center hours to mirror Access Arkansas hours for reporting activities.

  • Given state network issue, allowed those who tried to report but could not access the website or successfully report through October 5 to seek a Good Cause Exemption detailing their activities.  

  • Streamlined how students who are considered full-time or full-time equivalent report their education activities to receive a reporting exemption for up to six months after reporting. This update is set to go live Dec. 15.

  • Expanded enrollees’ ability to report by phone to DHS seven days a week by calling the DHS Helpline 1-855-372-1084 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

 

AR Works Resources

 

For more information and resources, see the Arkansas Department of Human Services website