WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- An improving U.S. economy helped limit Medicaid spending growth to 2 percent in Fiscal Year 2012 and relatively slow growth is expected in 2013, a study found.
Medicaid spending, which grew by nearly 10 percent in 2011, grew at its slowest pace in six years in 2012 -- and enrollment in the health insurance program for the poor slowed for a third straight year, the Kaiser Family Foundation's annual Medicaid survey indicated.
Enrollment grew at 3.2 percent, down from 4.4 percent in 2011 and 7.2 percent in 2010. There were 62 million people enrolled in the federal-state program in the past year.
The survey of Medicaid officials in all 50 states and the District of Columbia -- conducted by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured and Health Management Associates and released Thursday -- found states project a further slowdown in enrollment in 2013 but spending is expected to grow 3.8 percent.
The report found in addition to an improving economy, factors cited as contributing to the slowdown in Medicaid spending growth include state cuts in benefits and reimbursement rates for doctors and hospitals, changes in the way healthcare is delivered and the expiration of a federal stimulus law in July 2011 that had provided an extra $100 billion for state Medicaid programs, Kaiser Health News reported.
The annual cost of Medicaid is about $400 billion, with the federal government covering about 57 percent of that amount.