- More than 4 million people have enrolled in Medicaid as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting recession, CMS said Wednesday.
- Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program enrollment reached 74.6 million at the end of June, a 5.7% increase since February, the beginning of the public health emergency. CMS said enrollment sharply increased alongside the declaration of the public health emergency and again with the passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which requires states to provide continuous coverage to enrollees during the crisis instead of kicking people off the program.
- The bulk of that added enrollment is from adults, which saw enrollment grow by 7.2% from February to June, compared with 4.1% growth in the children's population, CMS said.
Shifting insurance enrollment creates significant ripple effects for the rest of the healthcare industry.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to weigh on the economy and as unemployment remains stubbornly high, many provider executives are bracing for a shift in payer mix — moving from commercially insured to those with Medicaid.
It poses some real challenges for providers who prize commercially insured patients. That type of employer-sponsored coverage, which most Americans have, typically reimburses more than government-sponsored programs such as Medicaid or Medicare — and the gap is growing.
If providers start to see fewer commercially insured patients in their markets and more patients with Medicaid, it could put a strain on their finances and ultimately their bottom line.
A recent survey of 150 CFOs and revenue cycle executives found that 70% of them expect an increase of Medicaid and self-pay patients and a decrease of commercially insured patients over the next 12 months.
Between May and June, Medicaid enrollment increased between 2% and 3.5% in seven states: Georgia, Kentucky, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming. Other states saw fewer gains over that time period.
The job market is likely to remain strained so long as the U.S. fails to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. Unemployment has reached historic levels amid the pandemic, and this week both American Airlines and United Airlines said they plan to cut more than 32,000 jobs as the virus has bludgeoned the travel industry.
The picture will become more clear Friday when the September jobs report is released.
For payers, it's not all bad news. For some, it means capturing more members as people lose their commercial coverage. St. Louis-based Centene, the market leader in Medicaid managed care and the Affordable Care Act marketplace, said it has added more than 1.1 million customers since March. The bulk of those were Medicaid members, but a fair number have enrolled in marketplace plans.