WASHINGTON – A record 80.5 million Americans had health insurance through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program earlier this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new federal data shared this week.
Between February 2020 and January 2021, Medicaid enrollments jumped 9.7 million people – or 15% – to an all-time high of nearly 74 million Americans, according to the report released Monday by the Centers for Medicare. Medicaid Services (CMS).
Almost 124,000 children enrolled in CHIP during the same period, an increase of 1.9%, which translates to nearly 6.8 million children enrolled by January 2021. In total, 38, 3 million children were covered by Medicaid or CHIP, according to the data.
The federal agency said Medicaid and CHIP were the largest source of health coverage for Americans.
The record number of Medicaid and CHIP registrations has been attributed to the impact of the public health emergency linked to the coronavirus and in particular to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed by Congress in March 2020. She provided to the US states a temporary increase in payments of 6.2% to cover the expected increase. Medicare costs as long as states kept eligible people enrolled in Medicaid throughout the public health emergency.
“This report reminds us of how Medicaid continues to be an essential program that enables tens of millions of children and adults to access health care,” said Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services , in a press release. “This pandemic has taught us that now more than ever, we must work to strengthen Medicaid and make it available when and where it’s needed using the unprecedented investments provided by Congress. ”
FILE – A dialysis nurse brings a cart back to the dialysis unit supply room after using it to treat a patient in the intensive care unit at the Regional Medical Center in San Jose, Calif., July 22 2020. (Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images
Medicaid is government-run health coverage provided to people below a certain income threshold, and its expansion is a major cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act. Earlier this month, the Biden administration announced that 14.8 million adults had obtained health care coverage through expanded Medicaid.
“The increase we’re seeing is exactly the way Medicaid works: the program steps in to support individuals and their families when times are tough,” CMS administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in the statement. “For parents who may have lost their jobs or had another life change during the pandemic, having access to coverage for themselves and their children is life changing. “
Medicaid enrollment of 73,759,632 million Americans in January was the highest since the CMS began tracking enrollment data in its current form in 2013, according to the Washington Post. The outlet noted that, therefore, it does not compare listing data to the last time the United States suffered severe economic hardship in late 2007 and mid-2009.
The Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” is currently being expanded under President Joe Biden, who sees it as the basis for moving the United States to universal coverage. Its giant COVID-19 relief bill has dramatically increased subsidies for private health plans offered by the ACA insurance markets, while dangling higher federal payments to states that have denied it. expansion of Medicaid law.
About 1.2 million people have registered on HealthCare.gov since Biden reopened registrations amid high levels of COVID cases earlier this year.
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This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.