CMS’ Medicaid and CHIP enrollment trends snapshot shows continued enrollment growth

Dec. 29, 2020

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its monthly Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Enrollment Trends Snapshot, showing a continued increase in enrollment for these programs.

This latest summary report captures impacts of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) by tracking total Medicaid and CHIP program enrollment trends for adults and children over a 12-month period. The CMS initially reported the impact of COVID-19 on increasing Medicaid and CHIP enrollment in the Enrollment Trends Snapshot released in September 2020. For the first time, the Snapshot now also includes a summary of the total number of applications submitted for these programs. Following months of decline in applications early in the PHE, this data shows an increase in applications beginning in June, with a significant uptick in applications between July and August 2020.

From February 2020, the month before a national emergency was declared under the Stafford Act, to August 2020, national Medicaid and CHIP enrollment increased by nearly 5.9 million individuals, or almost 8.3 percent. During this time period, Medicaid enrollment increased by over 5.8 million individuals, or 9.1 percent, whereas CHIP enrollment increased by 33,000 individuals, or 0.5percent.

The increase in enrollment is largely driven by the COVID-19 public health emergency and enactment of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) continuous enrollment (maintenance of effort) requirement. This requirement makes a temporary 6.2 percent increase in matching funds through Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP) for certain expenditures available to states and also includes a requirement to maintain Medicaid enrollment for beneficiaries except in a few circumstances. 

New data on the trend in applications further suggests that while new enrollment has had some impact on the overall increase in Medicaid and CHIP enrollment during the PHE, it has not been the key driver, as evidenced by enrollment growing at a far greater rate than applications. This trend suggests that enrollment increases are likely attributed to existing enrollees remaining eligible due to the maintenance of effort requirements; however, CMS will continue to monitor these trends.

CMS has the release.