Florida’s Medicaid enrollment continues to inch closer to the 5 million mark.
Information posted to the Agency for Healthcare Administration website shows there were 4,917,093 people enrolled in the Medicaid program at the end of August. That’s about a 1% increase from the previous month.
Data show Medicaid Region 11 leads the state in terms of numbers of people enrolled in the program with (819,971) beneficiaries being served either by a managed care plan or through traditional Medicaid, referred to as fee-for-service. Medicaid Region 11 comprises Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.
Medicaid Regions 6 and 7, meanwhile, have the second and third highest Medicaid enrollments with 688,298 people and 653,240, respectively. Medicaid Region 6 includes Hardee, Highlands, Hillsborough, Manatee and Polk counties. Medicaid Region 7 includes Brevard, Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties.
State economists met in July and August to discuss Medicaid enrollment and costs for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, 2022. Economists from the Governor’s office and the House and Senate agreed Medicaid enrollment would grow to 5,042,246 by next summer.
That means if the enrollment projections are accurate, more than one in five Floridians will be enrolled in the safety net program for the poor, elderly and disabled as of June 30, 2022. The cost of caring for the 5-million plus people will amount to nearly $34.9 million, economists estimate.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, enrollment in the Medicaid program was at an all time high in fiscal year 2016-2017 when 4,017,726 people were enrolled.
Enrollment in the Medicaid program has spiked because of the pandemic and the resulting economic downturn. Additionally, so long as the national emergency declaration remains in effect, and the state continues to get a 6.2% bump in federal financing to pay for the increased costs of the program, Florida cannot remove people from Medicaid.
While Region 11 leads the state in terms of number of Medicaid enrollees, Region 1 had the fewest number of people, 163,775, enrolled at the end of August. Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties make up Medicaid Region 1.