Missouri has enrolled 4,300 people in expanded Medicaid program

MM Curator summary


The uptake and processing of applications is going very slow so far.


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Roughly 4,300 Missourians eligible for health care under Medicaid expansion have been enrolled, a top Missouri Medicaid official said Thursday….


Roughly 4,300 Missourians eligible for health care under Medicaid expansion have been enrolled, a top Missouri Medicaid official said Thursday.

That figure represents a little over a quarter of the more than 17,000 applications the state has received since it began accepting applications for Medicaid expansion coverage in August, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said in a news release Monday.

Kirk Mathews, the chief transformation officer within MO HealthNet, Missouri’s Medicaid program, told lawmakers during a Senate Interim Committee on Medicaid Accountability and Taxpayer Protection hearing Thursday that the 4,300 figure was as of two days before that, with pending applications still being evaluated.

Matthews said he did not know how quickly applications would be processed, noting the state has up to 45 days to determine eligibility on applications.

Advocates and attorneys for plaintiffs who sued the state to force it to implement Medicaid expansion have been keeping a close eye on whether applications would begin to be processed starting Oct. 1 as the state said it would.

Despite a Cole County judge’s August ruling that eligible residents must be permitted to enroll, the Department of Social Services said it would need two months to make necessary system updates and train staff.

Applications for coverage under Medicaid expansion that were submitted after July 1 — the date Medicaid expansion was initially slated to go into effect — were denied, kept in a queue and are “being reevaluated for their eligibility determination now,” Matthews said.

A Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services spokeswoman confirmed Thursday that Missouri began processing applications Oct. 1 and is making eligibility determinations for Medicaid expansion applicants.

A DSS spokeswoman said Thursday that enrollment figures will start to be published in a monthly report that is expected to be released in November.

The state will also be eligible to draw down an estimated $968 million in federal funds for its Medicaid program over the next two years through the American Rescue Plan, according to the news release.

Approximately 275,000 Missourians are eligible for health care under Medicaid expansion. In the weeks leading up to Oct. 1, advocates have been working to help eligible residents sign up.

Under Medicaid expansion, adults aged 19 to 64 are eligible if their household incomes are 138% of the federal poverty guideline or less. That translates to $17,774 a year for a single person or $36,570 for a family of four.

When asked what comes next with Medicaid expansion enrollment, Matthews said the next few months will bring the unknown.

“We don’t know how rapid the take-up will be, where those numbers will settle in,” Matthews said. “But that’s where we are to date.”