Make room for more Medicaid patients

February 25, 2011

Thanks to greater federal funding and loosened state eligibility requirements, the number of patients receiving healthcare coverage through Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program has grown in recent years, according to a new study.

Thanks to greater federal funding and loosened state eligibility requirements, the number of patients receiving healthcare coverage through Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has grown in recent years, according to a study released recently by the Kaiser Family Foundation's Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (KCMU).The growth is expected to continue as healthcare reform is implemented.

The study found that in 2010, 49 states made changes to their eligibility rules and enrollment procedures to make it easier for residents to enroll in these programs. "Millions of American families have turned to Medicaid and CHIP as incomes have declined after losing jobs and the health insurance that often goes with them," says Diane Rowland, KCMU executive director.

Medicaid enrollment is expected to increase even further in 2014 when, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, income eligibility will be expanded to 133% of the federal poverty level, and states will be permitted to enroll nondisabled, nonpregnant adults without dependent children without a waiver. However, the report predicted that the majority of uninsured, low-income adults will not be eligible for Medicaid until 2014.