If you’re in the business of NEMT, a certain Supreme Court case probably caught your attention recently. Led by the Trump administration, lawmakers are asking the Court to reinstate its approvals of state work requirements waivers. If approved, the decision to enforce work requirements for Medicaid patients would ultimately be left up to the states. While this prospect may ignite concerns in NEMT providers, there’s no reason to panic right now. Instead, it’s important to gather the facts, stay informed, and wait for decision-makers to announce a final verdict.
Change doesn’t happen overnight
If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Medicaid work requirements, your business won’t be impacted immediately. Since the ruling shifts the power to the states, a separate procedure will be held to determine if a state wants to pass or deny the legislation. This could take weeks, or even months—and that’s under normal circumstances. In the current pandemic landscape, work requirements aren’t in effect anywhere. This is a good indication that, even with a Supreme Court approval of such requirements, states won’t be in any rush to implement them as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the nation.
But … what if it does happen?
Even if approvals were granted on both a federal and state level, the incoming administration is unlikely to uphold these verdicts. The Biden administration supports expanded Medicaid coverage, and a work requirement would make it difficult for those currently enrolled, as well as those looking to enroll, to receive aid. So, on the off chance that these work requirements are put into effect within the next month, it’s worth noting that they won’t stick around for long. Another thing to keep in mind is that states benefit from NEMT, too. By providing efficient and consistent transportation to medical appointments, they help individuals avoid costly ambulance and emergency room trips, saving the state tons of money each year. For this reason and many more, most states don’t support Medicaid rollbacks and wouldn’t consider adopting this new policy—federal approval would simply give them the option to. If a state provides a significant amount of non emergency medical transportation, it’s unlikely that they’d support a work requirement that would almost certainly decrease trip volume.
Supreme Court case takeaways
The best thing anyone in the NEMT space can do right now is stay informed. Pay attention to the court proceedings, but don’t assume your business is getting turned on its head tomorrow. Remember that most states generally don’t support Medicaid rollbacks and wouldn’t implement these changes, anyway. Until any real decisions are made on both a federal and state level, continue to focus on what matters most: providing the best service possible for your customers.