States That Rejected Expansion Still See Medicaid Enrollment Grow
More than 550,000 individuals between October 2013 and March 2014 signed up for Medicaid in 17 states that chose not to expand the program under the Affordable Care Act, according to a report by Avalere Health, McClatchy/Sacramento Bee reports.
The new enrollees previously were eligible for coverage under the program, but likely came out of the "woodwork" to enroll because of the increased attention paid to the program as a result of the ACA's expansion (Pugh, McClatchy/Sacramento Bee, 5/13).
Specifically, the report found:
- Georgia had the highest number of new Medicaid enrollees, at 99,000;
- North Carolina had about 58,000 new Medicaid enrollees (AP/ABC News, 5/13);
- South Carolina had about 54,000 new Medicaid enrollees;
- Tennessee had about 54,000 new Medicaid enrollees (McClatchy/Sacramento Bee, 5/13); and
- Virginia had about 37,000 new Medicaid enrollees (AP/ABC News, 5/13).
Further, the report found that Montana experienced a 10.1% increase in the number of new Medicaid enrollees during that time period, while Texas experienced only 0.1% growth (Millman, "Wonkblog," Washington Post, 5/13).
According to AP/ABC News, the actual number of previously eligible individuals who recently signed up for Medicaid could be higher, as Avalere did not report data for nine other states that did not expand their Medicaid programs under the ACA, including highly populated Florida (AP/ABC News, 5/13).
Non-Expansion States Could Struggle With Extra Cost
Avalere Vice President Caroline Pearson noted that "woodwork enrollment" has placed "unexpected financial and operational pressure" on states that are not participating in the ACA's expansion (McClatchy/Sacramento Bee, 5/13).
Avalere CEO Dan Mendelson said he "[doesn't] think a lot of these states anticipated the kind of enrollment they would be getting," and they "are going to have to figure out a way to pay for the increase" (AP/ABC News, 5/13).
Further, because Medicaid enrollment is open year round, non-expansion states could continue to see more woodwork enrollees, placing even greater strain on their Medicaid budgets (McClatchy/Sacramento Bee, 5/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.