New Medicaid enrollees likely healthier, less costly

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 13, 2010

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Most of the 16 million people expected to enroll in Medicaid in 2014 probably will cost less to cover than existing Medicaid and Medicare enrollees -- especially in the long-term -- according to an analysis released Aug. 30 by the Urban Institute for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

About half the people who will be eligible for Medicaid in 2014, when eligibility increases to 133% of the federal poverty level, are uninsured at some point during the year. However, they tend to be younger and healthier than existing Medicaid enrollees, the study showed. For example, 58% of childless adults who will be eligible are between 19 and 34, compared with 44% of current Medicaid enrollees.

The report's authors acknowledged that less healthy individuals will be more likely to enroll in Medicaid in the expansion's early stages. But they concluded that the additional enrollees' health status more closely will resemble existing Medicaid enrollees over time.

The report, based on 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data, is available online (link).

Note: This item originally appeared at

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