Medicaid, CHIP Enrollment Up 11.4% Since September 2013

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Between September 2013 and May, about 6.7 million U.S. residents had signed up for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program under the Affordable Care Act, bringing the total number of individuals enrolled in the programs to almost 66 million, according to a CMS report released Friday, The Hill reports (Al-Faruque, The Hill, 7/11).

Agency officials said the enrollment figure marked an 11.4% increase over enrollment rates during the three-month period before the launch of the ACA's first open enrollment period on Oct. 1, 2013 (Adams, CQ HealthBeat, 7/11). Although the open enrollment period for private coverage ended in March, Medicaid and CHIP continues year-round (Morgan, Reuters, 7/11).

Officials noted that:

  • 920,628 individuals enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP in May;
  • The agency overestimated by 583,752 the number of people enrolled in the two programs in April (CQ HealthBeat, 7/11);
  • Enrollment increased by 17% since Oct. 1, 2013, in states that expanded their Medicaid programs under the ACA; and
  • Enrollment increased by 3% since Oct. 1, 2013, in states that have not expanded Medicaid (Reuters, 7/11).

The latest figures do not include data from Connecticut, Maine and North Dakota, which did not provide numbers to CMS, according to The Hill.

CMS also noted that about 26.4 million children were enrolled in CHIP or Medicaid as of May and that 56% of all enrollees in the programs are children (The Hill, 7/11).

In an HHS blog post about the report, CMS Deputy Administrator Cindy Mann urged states that have yet to expand Medicaid to do so, arguing that "[i]ncreasing access to Medicaid coverage reduces the amount of uncompensated care provided by hospitals, lowers 'cost shifting' to businesses that see higher health insurance premiums (as some of the costs of caring for the uninsured are passed on to those businesses) and strengthens local economies" (CQ HealthBeat, 7/11).

Denny Weinberg
What is not indicated here, but so important is: 1) How many of these new CHIP and Medicaid members previously had Employer Coverage heavily subsidized by employers? 2) How many of these new CHIP and Medicaid members previously had Individual Coverage? 3) Now many of these new CHIP and Medicaid members previously had subsidized High Risk or other State Coverages These will begin to indicate to what extent the 100% tax payer funded first dollar coverage for Medicaid was previously paid by an employer or the State or even by the consumer or their parents. Medicaid (a first dollar coverage program) is substantially more expensive than private coverages which have high co-payments and deductibles. Therefore any transition from private coverage before Obamacare into Exchange coverages could be a significant inflationary dynamic and a cost shift from employers, states and consumers to the taxpayers.

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