Coronavirus: Medicaid enrollment increases

September 9, 2020

An analysis of Medicaid enrollment found many states saw a large uptick during the summer.

An analysis of Medicaid enrollment data during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic saw a jump in enrollment during the public health crisis.

The study, performed by Families USA, compares data from 38 states on Medicaid enrollment in May with data from August. The analysis found that, while there is wide variation among the states, all 38 showed continuous increases of month-over-month enrollment and eight states specifically saw large jumps in August.

More than half of the studied states have seen more than seven percent growth in enrollment since February. The eight states who’ve reported their August data reported an average enrollment growth of about 11 percent. According to the analysis, these trends show that with the continued loss of job-based insurance coverage due to the pandemic many states will see even more growth in Medicaid enrollment putting financial pressure on the programs.

If this financial burden is not picked up through federal support, states will be forced to absorb the increased Medicaid costs leading to states, already financially strapped due to the pandemic, being left in an even more precarious financial situation, the study says.

“The continued and stable operation of Medicaid depends on Congress acting to provide states with critical fiscal relief by further enhancing the temporary federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) for Medicaid,” the study says.

The study touts the Families First Coronavirus Response Act’s continuous coverage provision which prevents states from terminating Medicaid coverage for any beneficiary, in most circumstances, during the pandemic. The provision reduces administrative barriers like eligibility checks which often lead to loss of coverage.

“Continuous coverage is a critical tool to ensure eligible individuals maintain access to care, especially important during a public health crisis,” the study says.