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Medicaid Enrollment Continues to Rise

Medicaid enrollment in 36 states rose 17.7 percent from February 2020 to March 2021.

Leading the way were two Medicaid expansion states, Utah and Nebraska, which saw their Medicaid enrollment increase 37.6 percent and 30.9 percent, respectively.

Other states with major increases in Medicaid enrollment were Missouri (26.5 percent), Illinois (26.3 percent), and Indiana (25.7 percent).  The increases appear to have been driven by pandemic-related job losses and the accompanying economic downturn.

Learn more about where and why Medicaid enrollment is rising from the article “What is Happening With Medicaid Enrollment in Q1 of 2021?” on the web site of the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute.

States Expect Medicaid Enrollment, Spending to Rise in FY 2021

States expect to see their Medicaid enrollment and spending rise in FY 2021, driven by increases in unemployment resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and maintenance-of-effort requirements in legislation enacted earlier this year.

A Kaiser Family Foundation survey of state Medicaid directors found that those officials expect their Medicaid enrollment to rise 8.2 percent in FY 2021 and their Medicaid spending to increase 8.4 percent that same year.  Most states expect the 6.2 percentage point increase in federal Medicaid matching funds that was included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, passed this March, to expire at the end of 2020.

Learn more about how states see their Medicaid responsibilities changing in the coming year and the underlying causes of those changes in the Kaiser Family Foundation report “Medicaid Enrollment & Spending Growth: FY 2020 & 2021.”

Medicaid and CHIP Enrollment Rising in Pandemic

Medicaid enrollment rose 6.2 percent and CHIP enrollment 0.5 percent during the first four months of the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reports.

The enrollment increase can be traced to rising unemployment, with many people losing their employer-sponsored health insurance.  The new figures cover five months, from February through June, the latter four of which marked the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Private safety-net hospitals already serve significant numbers of Medicaid and CHIP patients; an increase in their rolls will prove financially challenging to them.

The information comes from CMS’s first monthly “Medicaid and CHIP Enrollment Trends Snapshot.”  Go here for CMS’s news release explaining its new initiative and here to see the trends snapshot itself.