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Medicaid Enrollment Jumps By 11,000, Stretching State Budget

An unexpected surge in Medicaid enrollments during the past six months is putting pressure on the state’s budget.

Medicaid has seen its enrollment jump by roughly 11,000 people since January 1. State officials attribute this to two main things: under the Affordable Care Act, there’s a streamlined application process, and that increased publicity surrounding the law brought out more applicants.

Health and Human Service Commissioner Nick Toumpas says it’s more than they expected, but that nearly 70% of the new sign-ups are children.

“If ever you were looking for a good investment going forward, that’s it,” says Toumpas. “Thing is, we didn’t plan to make that investment at this particular point. So, that does create a little bit of a challenge for us.”

DHHS’s most recent numbers show its budget running a $37 million shortfall. These new enrollees will add to that pressure because they are part of traditional Medicaid, placing New Hampshire on the hook for 50% of the costs.

As of July 1st, though, any new enrollees are part of the Medicaid expansion program.  The federal government picks up 100% of the tab. 

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