Press Release

Asa Arkansas's Governor


Program Integrity Efforts and Strong Economy Help Shrink Medicaid Rolls by 117,000 Over Last Year

DHS will ask for $477 million less for its Medicaid budget than it originally expected for SFY’19

LITTLE ROCK – Efforts to improve the accuracy of the Arkansas Medicaid rolls and transform its programs have helped create a drastically different program than the state saw a year ago with 117,260 fewer enrollees and a need to spend nearly a half billion dollars less than anticipated in State Fiscal Year 2019.

“This Medicaid news from the Department of Human Services is exactly the kind of cut in government spending I knew was possible when I took office in 2015,” Governor Asa Hutchinson said. “Director Cindy Gillsepie and her team have been diligent in ensuring the integrity of the Medicaid rolls. They have implemented changes that the Health Care Task Force recommended. As a result, DHS has cut its budget needs substantially even as it improved services. 

“The department has trimmed its needs by half-a-billion dollars. This is the sort of work that will keep Arkansas on track for an even better future. I am grateful for Director Gillespie’s leadership.” 

On January 1, 2018, there were 931,006 people enrolled in Medicaid programs in Arkansas, including 285,564 in the Arkansas Works program. That compares to 1,048,266 enrolled overall on January 1, 2017. That includes the 344,289 people enrolled in Arkansas Works at that time. 

Over the past year, the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) pushed efforts to improve the accuracy of the Medicaid rolls, to improve program integrity and to begin efforts to transform many of the underlying programs and services of the Arkansas Medicaid program. 

That work included implementing recommendations made by the Health Care Task Force. The net savings for those changes through SFY’17 was $77 million, and DHS expects to meet its 5-year, $835 million saving targets resulting from those efforts. 

Due to that and other work by DHS as well as the reduction of the number of people on Medicaid, DHS is now projecting that it will spend $477.9 million LESS on Medicaid in SFY’19 than was anticipated at this time last year in the biennium Medicaid budget appropriations bill.

CONTACT: Press Shop ( or 501.682.3642)