The Arkansas Department of Human Services has announced that starting Wednesday, December 19, Arkansas Works enrollees who need to report their work and community engagement activities will have more options to do so by phone with the launch of a new DHS Helpline.
The announcement means that the state is abandoning its previous practice of requiring that enrollees make their reports exclusively online.
That means Arkansas Works enrollees can report by phone by calling:
-- The DHS Helpline at 1-855-372-1084 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week, as of December 19.
-- Their insurance carrier (BlueCross BlueShield, Ambetter, or QualChoice) weekdays during regular business hours (and some Saturdays, depending on time of year and carrier) at the numbers below:
AmBetter -- 1-877-617-0390
Arkansas BlueCross BlueShield -- 1-800-800-4298
QualChoice -- 1-866-838-9186
-- 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.
People may also report in-person at a DHS county office.
Enrollees also can call 1-855-372-1084 to get questions answered. In addition, staff working the helpline will start proactively reaching out to individuals who have logged some – but not enough – work and community engagement activities to meet the 80 hours a month requirement. Staff will encourage those enrollees to continue to report their hours and refer them to helpful services.
“We are six months into this new Medicaid demonstration program, but wanted take the time now to access what areas we need to shore up or improve,” said DHS Director Cindy Gillespie. “Though enrollees have had the ability to report by phone through carriers, friends, and registered reporters, we felt it was important to expand that option before we roll the next group into the work and community engagement requirement.”
The state said it has seen an improvement in the percentage of current enrollees who are meeting the requirement, but wants the percentage to increase.
DHS also will be launching a paid advertising campaign aimed at ensuring enrollees know how to report their work and community engagement activities. The campaign will use both traditional and social media outlets, online sites, and local transportation organizations to reach enrollees.
The agency also will be working with higher education institutions so that students know their school hours count as activities toward meeting the requirement.