Medicaid Work Rules for Personal Injury Experts



How They Require Personal Injury Experts to Rethink  Vocational Damages

Thomas J. Dawson III, Esq. MPH, MA

The Trump Administration is permitting several states to place work requirements on their Medicaid populations to keep their government-funded health coverage. In April of 2019, Kentucky will begin phasing in its Medicaid work rules program.  Kentucky was the first of four states approved by the administration to start the program, followed by Indiana, Arkansas, and New Hampshire. Seven more states — Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Ohio, Utah, and Wisconsin — have applications pending and several others have begun the application process.                                    

In general, the program would require[s] adults ages 19 to 64 to work at least 80 hours per month to keep their health benefits. That includes getting a job, looking for a job, going to school, volunteering for community service or taking a job training course. While the new rules do not apply to pregnant women, full-time students, and other protected classes, injured or disabled persons may not be exempt.

The Medicaid work rules will require personal injury experts to rethink the measure of vocational damages. Any vocational evaluation, which fails to provide a quantifiable measure of present or future vocational damages considering the Medicaid work rules requirement, is vulnerable to criticism. For example, an expert that assumes the disabled party, without explanation, will be unable to maintain employment, train for employment, look for employment, volunteer, or go to school in the future per the Medicaid work rules, will be unable to provide an accurate measure of vocational damages. Personal injury experts must be prepared to rethink how they measure vocational damages to avoid that weakness.