How high will Medicaid enrollment go?

MEDICAID - Glowing Neon Sign on stonework wall
Don’t expect enrollment to drop any time soon.

4,835,582: That’s how many people state economists in March predicted would be enrolled in the Medicaid program during the state fiscal year 2021-2022, which covers the 12-month span from July 1 through June 30, 2022.

4,846,412: That’s how many people were enrolled in Florida’s Medicaid program as of June 30.

Even before the start of the new fiscal year, the number of people enrolled in the program that provides healthcare to poor, elderly and disabled people had exceeded the number economists had predicted earlier this year.

Members of the Social Services Estimating Conference meet today to sharpen their pencils and adjust the enrollment estimates made at the end of March.

While the latest projections most likely won’t be available until Monday, don’t expect enrollment to drop any time soon.

That’s because U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra this week extended the public health emergency due to the pandemic, which has been in place since January 2020.

The 90-day extension means that the state will continue to receive an additional 6.2% hike in the enhanced federal Medicaid match rate through Dec. 31, 2021.

So long as the state receives the additional funds — and there’s no indication that Florida is going to turn them down — people, for the most part, cannot be disenrolled.

There are some exceptions, though. For instance, people can voluntarily ask the state to terminate their Medicaid coverage. Additionally, the state can remove from the program people who have passed away or people who have moved to another state.

After finalizing the enrollment estimates, economists will meet again to determine how much the state will have to spend to cover the costs of care. When economists last met, they estimated that it would cost $32 billion.

Expect the cost estimates to increase also, but the state’s share of the costs will be offset by the additional federal funding that the state will receive for the remainder of the year.

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Republished with permission of The News Service of Florida.

Wire Services



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