By the end of April more than one million Pennsylvania residents had filed unemployment compensation claims since the coronavirus began taking a severe toll on the economy. This economic downturn is expected to impact Medicaid, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, since households that lose significant income can qualify for Medicaid. According to Kaiser, when the unemployment rate peaked at 10 percent in October 2009 during the Great Recession, Medicaid enrollment and spending increased significantly across the nation.
A model developed by Health Management Associates (HMA), an independent research and consulting firm, assesses COVID-19’s potential impact on health insurance coverage for each state and forecasts that Medicaid enrollment will increase across all states over the next several months. In Pennsylvania, HMA predicts Medicaid enrollment might increase by 459,000 to 1 million additional participants. The same model predicts Marketplace enrollment in Pennsylvania will increase by 28,000 to 120,000. Click here for the state-by-state predictions based on estimates for low, medium, and high levels of economic downturn.
At the end of March 2020, data released by the Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services shows Medicaid enrollment at 2,843,814, which is consistent with their average. This number is expected to increase in future months.
Applicants for health insurance coverage—e.g., Medicaid, CHIP, Marketplace—who need help navigating the process can contact PHLP’s helpline.