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8.7 M Additional Medicaid Beneficiaries Enrolled as a Result of the Affordable Care Act

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On Oct. 17, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released their most recent report detailing Medicaid enrollment attributable to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

According to the report, from Oct. 1, 2013, through Aug. 31, 2014, an estimated 8.7 million additional individuals enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program either as a result of the Medicaid expansion or as part of the “woodwork effect.” The new figures represent a 15 percent increase over the average monthly enrollment for July through September of 2013, and an additional 735,000 enrollees since the end of July 2014. For states expanding Medicaid, CMS reports that enrollment increased by 22 percent, with states not expanding averaging a 5 percent increase. These numbers are preliminary and may not capture pending eligibility determinations, particularly in several states that are continuing to work through large backlogs in Medicaid applications.

Part of this enrollment increase is a result of New Hampshire’s Medicaid expansion taking effect in mid-August, with the state showing enrollment growth of 8 percent over July, the largest percentage growth of any state. However, this accounts for only 11,000 new enrollees – the rest of the increase in August is due to new signups in other states. Unlike the exchanges, where signups are generally limited to the open enrollment period, Medicaid enrollment is permitted year round. Enrollment continues to surpass CBO’s projections, which assumed 7 million new Medicaid enrollees in 2014. While this growth may slow during the fall as backlogs decline, awareness is expected to uptick again during the exchange open enrollment period for 2015 starting this November.

CMS is expected to release another Medicaid enrollment file next month, including revised August numbers and figures for September. In 2015, total covered lives under Medicaid should continue to increase, with a jump at the beginning of the year as Pennsylvania expands. In addition, Indiana remains in discussions with CMS about a possible expansion in early 2015.

View CMS’ full report.

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