1.1 million to 1.8 million U.S. adults newly enrolled in Medicaid

Feb. 5, 2014 at 11:49 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Between 1.1 million and 1.8 million U.S. adults newly enrolled in Medicaid as a result of the Affordable Care Act, consultants Avalere Health estimated.

Caroline Pearson, vice president of Avalere Health, said the increases are concentrated in states with expanded Medicaid -- roughly three-fourths of total estimated new Medicaid sign-ups are those under expanded Medicaid.

"The data illustrate early upticks in Medicaid enrollment, skewing toward expansion states, as we would expect," Pearson said in a statement. "On average, we have seen a 12 percent increase in Medicaid applications compared to the typical rates before the Affordable Care Act, with a higher uptick of 19 percent among expansion states."

Recent reports from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, indicated at least 6.3 million individuals were determined eligible for Medicaid Oct. 1 to Dec. 31. These figures included a number of individuals who would have normally enrolled in Medicaid absent the Affordable Care Act, including regular program churn and renewals.

Avalere Health developed the estimates by comparing reported data on new enrollments from October through December 2013 to enrollment rates from the summer of 2013.

"Unlike the exchanges, or online marketplaces where enrollment is generally closed after March, Medicaid applications are accepted year-round, so enrollees have additional months to enter into the program if eligible," said Matt Eyles, executive vice president at Avalere Health. "If the increased rate of enrollment continues, we could see Medicaid rolls grow substantially throughout 2014."

Avalere took steps to remove double counting, but it is possible some double counting was present as exchanges assessed eligibility and then referred such cases to state agencies where determinations were made. In addition, in a limited number of cases, states reported households as opposed to individual applicants, and this is not adjusted for, Avalere said.

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