Wednesday, May 12, 2021

One quarter of the U.S. population is on Medicaid

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Time for an estimate of Medicaid enrollment growth since the eve of the pandemic, February 2020.  Monthly enrollment growth may finally be slowing, though it probably will not stop until the pause in disenrollments mandated by the Family First Act (passed in March 2020) is ended. Then, watch out: many states will probably commence income/eligibility checks at short intervals with a vengeance. 

As noted my previous update, the cumulative growth rate recorded in my sample, which is based on available monthly reports issued by the states, generally exceeds CMS's official tally (which lags this tally by four months) by about half a percentage point (state reports differ from CMS's official count in numerous ways).  Based on that rule of thumb, I would venture that enrollment nationally is up 16% since February 2020 and now stands at about 82.6 million for all full-service Medicaid programs. That's exactly one quarter of the U.S population. Exclude the undocumented and also legally present noncitizens who are time-barred from Medicaid eligibility, and the percentage is higher still.
[Update, 8/16/21: This estimate was high. The final tally for February is 81.4 million; CMS's total reported increase from Feb. 2020 through March 2021 is 15.6%. So my 34-state estimate is now coming in nearly a full percentage point ahead of final CMS tallies. CMS's preliminary March total is 81.7 million; the final March total will probably come in a bit over 82 million.]

My 34-state sample is complete through February of this year, excepting an estimate for the February total in Nebraska. Totals through March are provided for 30 states. The cumulative one-month increase from February to March 2021 (0.7%) is based on those 30 states.

Medicaid enrollment in 34 states, February 2020 to February/March 2021 (click to enlarge)

As always: expansion states are in blue; nonexpansion states in red; quasi-expansion state Wisconsin in purple; and estimates in green.

A couple of notes on estimates: 1. For Alaska, the April total is in, but I can't retrieve March, so I split the difference from February-April to estimate the March total. 2. The Nebraska February estimate carries forward the prior-month growth rate. 3. For the estimate of the March 2021 34-state total, I multiplied the February total by the one-month growth rate for the 30 states that reported in March.  

For more context and explanation of my compilation practices, see this post and this post.

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1 comment:

  1. You are doing a great job here, thanks again.

    I have a few idle questions:

    Does anyone publish data on the other 16 states?

    Any breakdown of children vs adults in coverage?

    In any event, the numbers are massive. Add this 82 million to Medicare, TriCare, the ACA, and government employee coverage, and we are halfway to single payer as is.