Medicaid Enrollment Jumps Due to Affordable Care Act

affordable care act medicaid enrollmentWith the release of the first monthly report on Affordable Care Act Medicaid enrollments since the expansion, it is apparent that the decision of both Democrat and Republican officials in 26 states to expand the government program to more individuals was a good one. 1.46 million Americans applied for and were accepted into the Medicaid program in October alone.

The numbers show that if all states would expand the program, 5.4 million more Americans would also gain quality, affordable healthcare under Medicaid. In Texas alone, an additional 1 million residents would be eligible for benefits if the state reversed its decision not to participate in the expansion. While states that did elect to expand Medicaid saw a 15 percent increase in Obamacare Medicaid enrollment when compared with numbers from the three months prior to October, states that chose not to participate saw only a 4.1 percent increase.

People Want Insurance

The significant increase in Medicaid applications proves there is a demand for affordable healthcare coverage. Currently, with the expansion of the program, six out of every 10 uninsured Americans can access healthcare coverage for $ 100 or less per month. However, with the release of the Affordable Care Act Medicaid enrollment numbers, evidence exists that if every state in the country offered Medicaid according to the expansion rules, the number of people who could gain access to insurance for $ 100 or less would jump to eight out of every 10.

In addition to illustrating the demand for affordable insurance, the Obamacare Medicaid enrollment numbers also prove the government has done a good job with outreach efforts that have allowed states to use innovative methods of getting people enrolled. For example, one method that has been exceptionally effective is to reach out to people who already receive benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) because they are most likely to also be eligible for Medicaid in states that elected to expand the program. Almost 223,000 people were enrolled in Medicaid using this method.

Affordable Care Act Medicaid Enrollment State Specifics

For the month of October, most states submitted data showing how many Medicaid enrollments there were so they could be compared with numbers from before the Affordable Care Act open enrollment period began. In Ohio, 319,886 people submitted new applications for Medicaid, the most of any state in the union. California followed in second, with 276,427 new enrollments.

While those were the only two states that enrollments that reached six figures, other states were successful in their Affordable Care Act Medicaid enrollment as well. Michigan enrolled 79,381 residents, Arkansas enrolled 65,355, and Maryland enrolled 42,122. Interestingly, not all states that have chosen to expand Medicaid are developing their own healthcare exchanges. This just goes to show that even if political ideology prevents a state from creating its own exchange, it doesn’t mean they can’t expand affordable care to its poorest residents by participating in the Medicaid expansion program.

Some states, including Arkansas, which is not developing its own exchange, but is expanding Medicaid, have discovered that making enrollment easy for Medicaid-eligible residents has boosted enrollment. Arkansas was one of the first states to use SNAP enrollments as a way to encourage more residents to sign up for Medicaid.

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