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ACA Boosts Medicaid, CHIP Enrollment by 3M So Far

ACA Boosts Medicaid, CHIP Enrollment by 3M So Far

April 7, 2014 — Since last October, more than three million U.S. residents have enrolled in Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program through the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148), according to preliminary data released Friday by the Obama administration, the New York Times reports.

For the report, the administration compared Medicaid and CHIP enrollment figures for February 2014 against the average monthly enrollment data from July 2013 through September 2013, just before the ACA's insurance marketplaces launched (Pear, New York Times, 4/4).

According to the Washington Post, the administration previously only reported data on how many people it deemed eligible for the programs, instead of the number of people who actually were enrolled (Sun/Millman, Washington Post, 4/4).

More Details From Latest Data

According to CMS, 11.7 million people were determined to be eligible for Medicaid and CHIP from Oct. 1, 2013, through the end of February (O'Donnell, USA Today, 4/4). As of Feb. 28, total Medicaid and CHIP enrollment stood at 61 million across the 46 states that reported such data (Washington Post, 4/4).

So far, about half all of states and the District of Columbia have expanded, or are in the process of expanding, Medicaid under the ACA (New York Times, 4/4).

In an HHS blog post on Friday, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius noted that states that have expanded Medicaid have seen a "much more dramatic increase" in enrollment compared with states that have not (Washington Post, 4/4).

Among states that had expanded their programs by February, CMS reported that Medicaid enrollment increased by an average of 8.3% to a total of 35 million beneficiaries. Meanwhile, Medicaid enrollment increased by an average of 1.6% among states that did not expand Medicaid.

The Congressional Budget Office has projected that at least eight million people likely will obtain Medicaid or CHIP coverage under the ACA this year, the Times reports.

Underreported Data

According to the Times, CMS noted the Medicaid and CHIP enrollment data are underestimates because several states did not report such data for February. In addition, the figures were characterized as preliminary because the federal government could determine that more people are eligible for Medicaid and grant them coverage retroactive to February.

The new data also do not reflect enrollment figures for March, when the administration launched a campaign to get residents to sign up for coverage through the marketplaces (New York Times, 4/4). In addition, the data do not take into account enrollees who signed up for Medicaid through, which faced technological problems that prevented the transfer of enrollment information to state Medicaid agencies (Washington Post, 4/4).