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HomeHealthcareUnemployment, federal regulations push the Medicaid enrollment rate to a record high

Unemployment, federal regulations push the Medicaid enrollment rate to a record high


The combination of various factors, including the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, has caused the number of Americans seeking government health insurance to hit a record high.

Released snapshot The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services revealed last week that more than 80 million Americans have received Medicare through Medicaid and Child Health Insurance plans-the highest in history.

Cindy Mann, a partner at Manatt Health, said in an email: “Medicaid is a countercyclical program, which means that as more people are eligible for and need Medicaid, enrollment usually increases during economic downturns. “

Not surprisingly, CMS data shows that from February 2020 to January this year, nearly 9.9 million people participated in insurance.

Due to the economic recession, the population structure of enrollment has also changed. Adam Striar, senior manager of Manatt Health, said in an email that children, the elderly, the blind and the disabled usually make up the majority of Medicaid enrollees.

But this time, the enrollment rate of childless adults, parents and pregnant women has increased. “This reflects the huge fluctuations in the labor market. Many working-age adults have lost their income and received employer-sponsored insurance,” he said. .

However, widespread unemployment is not the only driving factor for the increase in enrollment. She said there are also federal requirements that prohibit states from removing people from Medicaid programs during public health emergencies, provided that the state agrees to receive additional federal Medicaid matching funds.

According to a report, generally speaking, the federal government matches the costs incurred in the administration of Medicaid by the federal government at a rate of 50%. Caesars Family Foundation ReportAs states are in financial distress during the pandemic, the government authorizes an increase in the federal match rate of states that meet certain criteria (including the above-mentioned Medicaid-related requirements) by 6.2 percentage points.

Yulan Egan, managing director of the advisory committee, said in an email that CMS itself admitted that due to this requirement, enrollment has increased, which has caused states to suspend their typical eligibility checks and exit activities.

“In other words, the number of Medicaid enrollment has increased not only because of the increase in the number of people joining the program, but also because the number of people who withdrew from the program has basically been cut off,” Egan said.

Adam Striar, senior manager of Manatt Health, said in an email that Medicaid registrations may continue. A key indicator is that although the economy has begun to recover, the number of registrations has not slowed significantly in recent months.

He said: “Enrollment in many states continues to grow at a rate of 1% or more per month, which is much faster than the typical growth rate before the pandemic.” “This pattern is not atypical in a recession; The growth rate often has a long’tail’.”

Egan of the advisory board said that in general, this increase in enrollment provides relief for the healthcare industry. For health plans, the increase in Medicaid enrollment helps offset the loss of commercial enrollment, and for providers, the increase in Medicaid plans is better for their financial status than the increase in the number of uninsureds.

However, once the public health emergency is declared over, states and payers will need to prepare for a large-scale eligibility process. Manatt Health’s Mann said many people may have changed addresses, some may have lost their homes, and most people do not have to keep in touch with their Medicaid agency during the pandemic.

“[States will need to] Cooperate with plans and providers [and] Community groups to prevent qualified people from losing insurance,” she said.

Photo: zimmytws, Getty Images



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