On Saturday, I noted that there was a Medicaid enrollment file issue. Approximately 100,000 people on the Exchanges had thought they had enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP but the federal files had not properly transferred to the states to process the enrollments. At least half of the people impacted lived in either Ohio or Pennsylvania.
Ohio has expanded Medicaid but Pennsylvania has not. So how is Pennsylvania impacted?
No state has ever had every person who was eligible for Medicaid (expanded or not) enrolled in Medicaid. Some states aggressively outreach to everyone that they can enroll and have a very high percentage of eligible people enrolled in Medicaid. Aggressive outreach can include enrolling people who are participating in other low-income programs such as SNAP or LIHEAP, community organizers conducting enrollment fairs and follow-ups after taxes are filed. Other states don’t aggressively chase after people who eligible. Instead, they count on people trickling in.
The launch of the Obamacare open enrollment period between October 1st and the end of March, 2014 is a massive shock to all enrollment systems and decision schemas. People who were not covered have been going onto the Exchanges because there has been a massive push to get people who were not covered to get them covered.
Quite a few people have gone online and never thought that they were Medicaid eligible as that was for poor people and not them. And once they entered their information, quite a few people, even in non-expansion states, were shocked to find out that they were Medicaid eligible. The same scenario also played out for CHIP enrollment especially as CHIP has much more generous income restrictions than Medicaid.
This is how 25,000 or more people in Pennsylvania, a non-expansion state, are newly Medicaid eligible.