As our nation works to overcome the COVID-19 crisis, Medicaid continues to provide an essential safety net for tens of millions of hard-working Americans, children, older adults, people with disabilities, and veterans.
Medicaid’s Part Throughout a Public Health Crisis
The COVID-19 crisis has had a profound impact on the health and financial security of Americans. The continued growth of Medicaid enrollment is clear evidence of this impact. Between February and September 2020, enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) increased by more than 6 million people or 8.6% nationwide. The number of Americans who rely on Medicaid is expected to continue to grow in the years to come. An additional 5.03 to 10.25 million people are projected to enroll in Medicaid through December 2022 as a result of the economic impact of COVID-19.
Medicaid and Medicaid Managed Care programs have taken decisive actions to help patients and curb the spread of the virus. These actions include eliminating patient costs for COVID-19 diagnostic testing and treatment, expanding access to telehealth and behavioral health services, establishing programs and partnerships in local communities to support the most vulnerable populations, and much more.
A Resource for At-Risk Populations
Medicaid provides high-quality, affordable health coverage for millions of Americans from a range of diverse backgrounds, including children, pregnant and postpartum women, older adults, and people with disabilities. Many of those covered by Medicaid, such as older adults, face an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 or experiencing more severe health impacts from the disease. In fact, nearly 1 in 10 Medicaid enrollees are over the age of 65, and Medicaid covers long-term care for almost 2 in 3 nursing home residents.
Many other hard-hit communities have relied on Medicaid’s critical safety net during the COVID-19 crisis, including frontline workers, those with substance use disorders and behavioral health concerns, and communities of color. Medicaid provides coverage for more than 1 in 4 Black and Hispanic children and nonelderly adults. Moreover, Medicaid is the largest payer for mental health services, and more than 1 in 10 adults over age 18 covered by Medicaid have a substance use disorder.
Not only is Medicaid more vital to Americans than ever before, but it is also critical to overcoming the COVID-19 crisis. Strengthening Medicaid is a bipartisan issue. In fact, 4 in 5 voters (80%) think increasing funding for Medicaid amid COVID-19 should be a priority for Congress, including a bipartisan majority of Democrats (92%) and Republicans (68%). We must ensure Medicaid is strong and stable to support the growing number of Americans relying on the program by enhancing states’ Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) to address the crisis.