Practice Economics

Medicaid enrollment up 15% in October due to ACA


Medicaid applications were up more than 15% in October in states that are expanding their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act.

The preliminary data, released by the Health and Human Services department Dec. 3, shows that while Americans have been slow to enroll in private health plans through the online exchanges, many low-income individuals are getting access to insurance coverage through the Medicaid program.

As of October, 23 states and the District of Columbia had expanded their Medicaid programs to include individuals with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level. That coverage will begin on Jan. 1, 2014. Two more states – Ohio and Michigan – recently announced plans to expand their programs but have not yet begun enrollment.

During October, the number of applications to Medicaid programs and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) were up 15.5% overall in states expanding their eligibility, compared with the average monthly number of applications received from July through September. The figures include both individuals who are newly eligible under the ACA and those who were eligible previously. Comparatively, states that opted not to expand their Medicaid programs saw an increase in applications of 4.1%.

Across all states, more than 2.4 million applications were submitted to state Medicaid and CHIP agencies during October. More than 1.4 million individuals were deemed eligible for the programs.

The figures released by the HHS provide a partial picture of Medicaid enrollment under the ACA. Individuals also are applying to the program through the online insurance exchanges. From Oct. 1 to Nov. 2, 396,261 were determined to be eligible for Medicaid or CHIP after applying for insurance through either a state-based exchange or, according to the HHS.

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