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Medicaid/Chip enrollment increases to more than 83 million, says CMS

Photo: Marko Geber/Getty Images

The latest enrollment figures released this week by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services show that an estimated 83 million people are now enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), representing an increase of nearly half a million.

The enrollment snapshot is from June, a month in which 433,963 more Americans enrolled in the programs than in the previous month.

Since February 2020, Medicaid and CHIP enrollment has increased by 12,507,181 people or 17.7%, according to CMS.

In total, about 76.3 million people were enrolled in Medicaid in June and nearly 6.9 million in CHIP. Both are increases, of 75.9 million and 6.9 million people, respectively.

However, unless the public health emergency is extended past its current mid-January deadline, millions of people will face loss of Medicaid coverage, according to NBC News.

The most recent 90-day extension was in October and ran through January 16, 2022.

MEDICINE

CMS also released figures for Medicare as of October. As of that month, total Medicare enrollment is 63,964,675. The initial enrollment for Medicare is 36,045,321 and enrollment for Medicare Advantage and other health plans is 27,919,354. This includes enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans with and without prescription drug coverage.

Medicare Part D enrollment is 49,141,158, which includes enrollment in standalone prescription drugs and Medicare Advantage plans that provide coverage for prescription drugs.

WHAT IS THE IMPACT?

CMS attributes the increase in overall Medicaid and CHIP enrollments to the impact of the pandemic, specifically the enactment of Section 6008 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). FFCRA offers states a temporary 6.2% payment increase in Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) funding.

States qualify for this enhanced funding by adhering to the effort maintenance requirement, which ensures eligible people enrolled in Medicaid remain enrolled and covered during the PHE.

THE BIGGER TREND

In an effort to help states and territories respond to the pandemic, CMS has developed strategies to support its programs in times of crisis, including granting states greater flexibility in their Medicaid and CHIP operations.

In February, the Department of Health and Human Services said in a letter to governors that the current public health emergency caused by COVID-19 is likely to last until the end of the year. Continued expansions of public health emergencies have continued many of the flexibilities offered to states and hospitals at the start of the pandemic.

Due to the expansions, the expanded use of telemedicine, certain exemptions from Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy Rule, as well as the 6.2% increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage have remained in effect. In addition, the expansion of public health will allow hospitals to continue to receive an additional 20% Medicare payment for patients who test positive for COVID-19.

The Federal Medical Assistance Percentage extension means states are incentivized to maintain Medicaid funding and coverage as a way to receive the additional funds, resulting in fewer uninsured patients and more government reimbursements to hospitals, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

Twitter: @JELagasse
Email the writer: [email protected]

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