Short Takes On News & Events

Medicaid Enrollment Increased By 3 Million From October To February

By Phil Galewitz

April 4th, 2014, 12:01 PM

The number of low-income people enrolled in Medicaid rose by 3 million to 62.3 million from October through February as more Americans joined the state-federal insurance program through state and federal online insurance marketplaces, according to a report released Friday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

States that expanded Medicaid eligibility under the health law saw an average 8 percent increase in enrollment, with enrollment leaping almost 35 percent in Oregon and almost 34 percent in West Virginia. The health law expanded the program to include all legal residents with incomes under 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or $15,800 for an individual.

States that chose not to expand the program saw an average increase in enrollment of 1.6 percent, the report found. Florida saw the biggest increase – 8.2 percent — as people who were previously eligible but not enrolled signed up. Montana ranked second with a 6.9 percent increase and Idaho was third with a 6.6 percent jump.

Federal officials say the latest numbers, which are compared to a baseline of average enrollment from July through September, 2013, underestimate the program’s growth because not all states reported Medicaid enrollment. In addition, the totals do not include sign-ups for March, when state and federal insurance marketplaces saw a huge influx of people looking for coverage.

While enrollment closed for private coverage under the marketplaces on March 31, there is no deadline for people to apply for Medicaid.

On April 1, Michigan expanded its Medicaid program under the law and New Hampshire will expand starting in July, bringing the total to 26 in addition to the District of Columbia.

The expansion of Medicaid eligibility was expected to add 8 million beneficiaries to Medicaid nationwide in 2014, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. That increase was expected despite the refusal of many states to participate after the U.S. Supreme Court made the expansion effectively optional.

12 Responses to “Medicaid Enrollment Increased By 3 Million From October To February”

  1. Randy says:

    Medicaid enrollment increased by 3 million? To be sure, Republicans hate this! Why? Because, as a policy, Republicans hate poor people. Simple as that!

  2. Wendy says:

    Randy,

    You forgot to mention that most of those poor people that Republicans hate are working poor people. Sometime these working poor people are holding down two jobs just to make ends meet and yet, they still qualify for Medicaid. At $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage, most minimum wage workers need to work more than 80 hours per week to begin to rise above Medicaid standards. The Republican Party is shameless and disgraceful. They openly hate working poor people and will do anything possible to deny them a decent working wage.

  3. other says:

    sigh, of course, the liberals are out, see things from one point of view, and any lack of agreemenr must be based on hate.

  4. evan says:

    Yawn…of course…the tea party types are out…again! Spinning the truth, as usual. Lack of agreement? What agreement? Can we at least agree with the fact that 50 million Americans remain uninsured and Republicans are clueless about solutions? Can we agree with the fact that 50 million Americans use hospital emergency rooms as their primary (unfunded) healthcare source? Hospitals are going broke! Do Republicans care? Not in the least! As these extremist right-wing wackos continue to show the American people that they will not stop at anything short of repealing the ACA and return America to the broken healthcare environment that existed prior to the ACA, we can only hope that voters will see their hateful agenda as it truly is. An agenda with a single purpose. A Republican repeal mindset that remains as their “only” political agenda on the table. Not jobs. Not the economy. Just repeal Obamacare at all costs and throw America further into the dark ages of Republican healthcare policies.

  5. other says:

    thanks evan, just proved my statement.

  6. Richard says:

    Other? That handle says it all. Tells us all we need to know, huh?

  7. Richard says:

    Hey GOP naysayers, here’s a news flash! In several news articles announced today regarding healthcare insurance, the number of America’s uninsured has dropped to its lowest level since 2008. Why? Because the Affordable Care Act is working very well. Don’t believe me? Simply do a web search for the words…

    “Poll suggests rate of uninsured Americans dropped among all groups”

    LOL! Can’t stop laughing!

  8. Karin says:

    This is disturbing to me the line drawn between the parties as if either party is really working for any of the American people. And yes this thread is biased as if it’s OK. Certainly not neutral. To say one hooker is better than the other is ridiculous.
    Seems to be some inaccuracies as to how many people lost insurance and how many gained seems to be a wash. A poll based on what? Actual insured people versus people that lost?
    Seems to me there could be time better spent making it work for everyone instead of pointing fingers. Take the way we make medical claims, the way they are billed, the coding, the electronic transmission, the fact you have to bill Medicare even if there is no balance, the fact that all pharmacy needs to be billed whether it is picked up or not.
    We could save millions and millions without all the over complicated non sense and of course it’s those regulations implemented by Medicare our own Government plan.
    But throwing out the baby with the bath water is all good as long as we can blame one political party right?

  9. Per Pope Francis, Meeting with Workers in Cagliari, Italy 22September2013:
    “A society open to hope is not closed in on itself, in the defence of the interests of the few. Rather it looks ahead from the viewpoint of the common good. And this requires on the part of all a strong sense of responsibility.”
    I work in an ER. If we pull together we may organize the health system to better accommodate the needs of our people. There is nothing wrong with trying to help people to better their lot in life. The Affordable Care Act is not the bogeyman.

  10. Tracy says:

    All you proObamacare people out there-Who’s going to pay for all the extra Medicaid and subsides to insurance premiums?

  11. evan says:

    I’ve got some good news for you Tracy! You already paid for them! Fact is, you already sent those dollars to Washington in your federal income taxes. Medicaid expansion is not about paying more taxes, Medicaid expansion is about returning federal tax dollars that you already paid in order to help get more residents in you state to qualify for health insurance. Medicaid expansion is about trying to stop the uninsured from driving hospitals broke as a result of the uncompensated care that the hospitals are forced (by law) to give to the uninsured. Republican governors need to realized that, by refusing Medicaid expansion, they are refusing billions of returned tax dollars to their state that are intended to get more people insured and they are also refusing to help the uninsured get health insurance which helps hospitals stay solvent. If we don’t see more Republican governors accepting Medicaid expansion, we will continue to see more uninsured people getting their (uncompensated) primary healthcare at the emergency room and we will see more and more hospitals closing their doors because they can’t afford to stay open.

    Question: Do you spend way too much time watching Faux Noise?

  12. Penelope says:

    The decision not to expand Medicaid in so many states was probably a mistake. Those states’ hospitals will still have to absorb the cost of uncompensated care, which could have been (at least somewhat) rectified if their states had chosen expansion. It was a potential band-aid solution to a much bigger problem.
    But it’s unfortunate that there should be any excitement at all about increased Medicaid enrollment. 62.3 million enrolled: that means there are 62.3 million Americans who can’t afford to pay for their own health insurance. Maybe their salaries are too low, maybe they can’t find work, or maybe their employers just don’t offer affordable healthcare options, and other affordable options are scarce. But in my mind we’re looking at much bigger issues than getting people enrolled. And I don’t think this is an issue that should be addressed along party lines: I should hope that both democrats and republicans alike would ultimately like to see fewer Americans on Medicaid.

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