Consultants tell lawmakers that Arkansas private option plan should move people 'upward'

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LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Consultants are telling Arkansas legislators that the state's "private option" Medicaid system should move a recipient "upward on a ladder of opportunity."

The Stephen Group told a task force Wednesday that Arkansas should make work referrals mandatory and support businesses that hire people in the private option. It says people should be on the private option only temporarily and refers to the plan as the "Transitional Health Insurance Program," or T-HIP.

Arkansas uses federal funding to help buy insurance for poorer residents, and legislators this year asked consultants to analyze what Arkansas should do as it picks up a larger share of the costs.

The New Hampshire-based consultants said Arkansas should impose wellness targets, and add co-pays and premiums for people who don't meet them.

No decisions are expected Wednesday.

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