Medicaid Enrollment Flattened & Costs Limited Due To The Booming Economy

By: Meredith Miller
Published: Friday, October 26 2018
Last Updated: 2 months ago

For the first time since 2007, Medicaid enrollment fell by 0.6% in 2018 due to increased efforts in some states to verify eligibility as well as the strong economy.

Kaiser Health News Study

Kaiser Health News conducted a study on Thursday which shows Medicare costs continue to rise. Medicare spending rose 4.2% in 2018, and 4.1% in 2017, due to drug costs rising and well as the cost for long-term care and mental health services.States anticipate Medicare enrollment to rise 1% in 2019, we well as total Medicare spending to increase to 5.3%

Medicare Enrollment Numbers

A report released by Medicaid.gov on Wednesday, stated that around 73 million people were enrolled in Medicaid as of August. In the past decade Medicaid has been seeing more and more people enroll, this can be due to the Great Recession when many individuals did not have jobs or money to enroll, as well as dozens of states expanding eligibility using federal financing provided by the Affordable Care Act. More than half of the US states decided to expand their programs to cover anyone with an individual’s income of about $17,000 in 2018.

In September, the national unemployment rate was 3.7%, which is the lowest since 1969. By the unemployment rate falling, Medicare enrollment followed the path since people with jobs can get coverage from work, or can afford it on their own. Some states do make individuals and families verify their eligibility.

Kaiser Quotes On Medicare Coverage

“A total of 19 states expanded or enhanced covered benefits in fiscal 2018 and 24 states plan to add or enhance benefits for the current fiscal year, which for most states started in July,” the Kaiser report said. “The most common benefit enhancements reported were for mental health and substance abuse services. A handful of states reported expansions related to dental services, telehealth, physical or occupational therapies and home visiting services for pregnant women.”

Medicare Coverage In The United States

Medicaid accounts for one-sixth of healthcare expenditures. This is about 20% of the US, and half of the people enrolled are children. For states that do not bring in as much income, they get a higher amount of Medicaid costs covered by the federal government, while they cover the rest. The average amount the federal government matches across all the states is 62%.

Which States Did Not Expand Medicaid

Unfortunately, not all the states decided to expand Medicaid, with the select states being Republican controlled states. From 2014 to 2016 the Affordable Care Act helped anyone who applied and was accepted by paying the full coverage for Medicaid, now the federal government will pay no less than 90%. This can be due to the fact that the states spending rose 4.9% for the expansion, and it is expected to grow another 3.5% in 2019.

President Trump has created controversy when he signed an executive order to eliminate the Individual Mandate. The Affordable Care Act made it easier for states to give Medicaid coverage to individuals who could not afford it. Now states have to work on changing the way they pay providers to receive better value as well as trying to increase Medicaid benefits for their residents.