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Rebecca Farley

Director, Policy & Advocacy, National Council for Behavioral Health

Medicaid Enrollment Increases by 3 Million Since Start of ACA

April 10, 2014 | Medicaid | Comments
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Approximately three million individuals have gained coverage through Medicaid or CHIP since the rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansions in October, according to a new report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

As of February 2014, Medicaid enrollment in the 46 reporting states and the District of Columbia was 5 percent higher than in the 6-month period preceding the October 1st start of open enrollment. States participating in the ACA’s Medicaid expansion saw Medicaid and CHIP enrollment increase by 8.3 percent, compared with a 1.6 percent increase in states not expanding their Medicaid programs. The states with the largest gains in enrollment were Oregon, West Virginia, and Vermont. The Congressional Budget Office has projected that 8 million people will gain Medicaid or CHIP coverage in the first year after the coverage expansions took effect.

Medicaid is an important source of coverage for individuals living with substance use and mental health disorders, many of whom were not eligible prior to the ACA coverage expansions. Although enrollment in the federal and state marketplaces closed March 31, individuals who qualify for Medicaid can enroll at any time throughout the year.

The results reflect the change in state-reported Medicaid and CHIP enrollment that occurred between the baseline period of July to September 2013, and February 2014 CMS says increase reflects both newly eligible beneficiaries in states expanding Medicaid, as well as those who previously were eligible but not enrolled, including in states not expanding Medicaid.