Vice President for Health Policy
Media reports have expressed surprise, even concern, that early enrollment in Medicaid under health reform has outpaced enrollment in the new health insurance marketplaces so far. But, that was expected to happen, even before the well-documented technical problems affecting HealthCare.gov, the federal marketplace website.
The fact is, the quicker rate of Medicaid enrollments isn’t burdening states with unexpected costs — and it’s great news for the low-income individuals and families gaining coverage through the program, as research shows that Medicaid improves health and provides critical financial protection against catastrophic out-of-pocket medical costs.
Consider these key facts, which put the rate of Medicaid enrollments in context:
This means that those who are eligible for Medicaid and CHIP are not eligible for premium credits to purchase coverage through the marketplaces. In other words, no one is unexpectedly choosing Medicaid coverage over subsidized marketplace plans and the fact that Medicaid enrollment is now outpacing marketplace enrollment doesn’t have an adverse effect on the marketplaces. (If their state isn’t adopting the Medicaid expansion at this time, individuals with incomes between 100 percent and 133 percent of the poverty line would be eligible for premium credits, however.)
Moreover, many people who will be newly eligible for the Medicaid expansion in 2014 are low-income individuals and families who are already eligible for and enrolled in other programs administered by states, which eases outreach and enrollment efforts. In addition, some states already had state-funded programs providing limited health coverage while others took up a health reform option to expand Medicaid early. These states are now automatically transitioning eligible individuals from these health programs to Medicaid.