Oct 15, 2020 - Health

Medicaid enrollment projected to spike

Illustration of a health care weathervane

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

States expect Medicaid enrollment to jump by 8.4% in fiscal year 2021, compared to 6.3% growth in fiscal year 2020, according to a new KFF brief. This growth is expected to be primarily driven by enrollment.

The big picture: The program is serving as a safety net for the millions of Americans who have lost access to their employer health insurance during the pandemic.

  • But states are already facing enormous budget shortfalls as a result of the economic downturn, and increased Medicaid costs will only make the problem worse.

Between the lines: "To reduce Medicaid spending during economic downturns, states typically turn to provider rate and benefit restrictions, however, with providers facing revenue shortfalls and enrollees facing increased health risks due to the pandemic, these methods to control costs may not be as viable," the authors write.

Go deeper: Medicaid will be a coronavirus lifeline

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