Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Covid-19 and Medicaid Enrollment in the Great Plains Region

In an earlier commentary, we examined the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on enrollment in Medicaid, the national medical insurance program for eligible individuals with limited income and resources. Historically, Medicaid enrollment increases during economic downturns. Weak economic conditions translate into more unemployment, more people without job-based health insurance, more people with lower household incomes, and more people who can qualify for health insurance coverage through the Medicaid program. This is in contrast to periods of expanding economic activity, when Medicaid enrollment tends to stagnate and even decline.

Like previous economic downturns, the Covid-19 induced economic contraction during 2020 has precipitated an expansion in Medicaid enrollment.  Moreover, agencies that manage the Medicaid program in each state anticipate still more growth in enrollment in coming months.  After recent years of stagnant enrollment numbers, every region of the U.S. has witnessed gains in Medicaid enrollment since the Covid-19 pandemic began. In the seven-state Great Plains region, the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak has been more severe than in other sections of the country, as Medicaid enrollment in the region grew 7.1% during the first half of 2020, much more than the 6.5% enrollment growth nationally during the same period. Here's a summary look at Medicaid enrollment growth in the Great Plains region as Covid-19 spread during the first half of 2020:

Covid-19 and Medicaid Enrollment in the Great Plains Region
Covid-19 and Medicaid Enrollment in the Great Plains Region

Medicaid Enrollment (in 000s)
State July 1, 2020 Jan 1, 2020 Growth
IA 628.2 600.1 4.7%
KS 343.0 319.2 7.5%
MN 1,097.7 1,039.4 5.6%
MO 900.4 811.6 10.9%
NE 224.2 212.2 5.7%
ND 96.2 87.7 9.8%
SD 99.9 93.5 6.8%
Region 3,389.7 3,163.7 7.1%
National 68,826.6 64,621.4 6.5%

Source: Medicaid.gov Enrollment Reports.