President Releases FY 2016 Budget with Expansive Medicaid/CHIP Agenda

President Obama unveiled his fiscal year 2016 budget on Monday, kicking off the lengthy federal budget process. The budget request outlines an expansive Medicaid/CHIP agenda for the penultimate year of the current Administration. Among the proposals that will require Congressional action, the Administration seeks to extend enhanced Medicaid payments to primary care providers through the end of 2016 and to expand the availability of these enhanced Medicaid payments to OB/GYNs, physician assistants and nurse practitioners; to allow states to provide 12-month continuous eligibility to adults enrolled in Medicaid; and to extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which expires this year, through 2019. Under administrative authority, Obama officials plan to extend permanently the 90% federal Medicaid matching funds to states for the development and operation of integrated eligibility and enrollment systems.

As Final Deadline Approaches, 9.5 Million Consumers Have Signed Up for Marketplace Coverage during 2015 Open Enrollment

HHS announced that 9.5 million consumers have signed up for or re-enrolled in health coverage through federal and state Marketplaces — 7.1 million individuals through the Federally-facilitated Marketplace (FFM) as of January 16 and 2.4 million people through State-based Marketplaces as of January 17. Of those who signed up on the FFM, 4.2 million (58%) are returning consumers while 3 million (42%) are new enrollees; nearly 87% of FFM enrollees qualify for financial assistance to help pay for the cost of their plans.

10 Million Enrolled in Medicaid/CHIP since October 2013

Over 10.1 million additional individuals have enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP since initial Marketplace open enrollment began in October 2013, according to CMS’ latest Medicaid/CHIP monthly enrollment report. Based on data as of November 2014, this reflects a 17.5% increase in average monthly enrollments compared to July – September 2013. States expanding their Medicaid programs saw a 25.5% enrollment increase, while those not expanding Medicaid saw only a 7% increase. Nearly 450,000 individuals signed up between October and November 2014, with Vermont seeing the highest monthly enrollment percentage increase for State-based Marketplace states (16%) and North Carolina experiencing the highest for Federally-facilitated Marketplace states (3%).

Report Profiles Most Common Reasons for Remaining Uninsured, Including Perceptions of Ineligibility and Unaffordability

Approximately 11 million non-elderly people gained health coverage in 2014, but 30 million remain uninsured, according to a new report by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser interviewed 10,500 people and found that a range of factors – not just technical difficulties entering Marketplace websites – led them to remain uninsured. Affordability concerns were the most commonly cited; however, 63% of uninsured adults, including many who appeared eligible for financial assistance, said they did not attempt to obtain Marketplace or Medicaid coverage, either because they thought they were ineligible or unable to afford coverage. Nearly 30% of those who tried to sign up for ACA coverage said the coverage offered was too expensive.