Hawaii: Boom! Medicaid Expansion cuts HI's uninsured population in half

Hat Tip To: 
Steve Ciccarelli

Hawaii's private QHP exchange may still be a mess, but there's great news out of the Medicaid side: Over 48,000 new enrollees since October 1st. The article specifies that these are a combination of "strict expansion" and "woodworkers", though it doesn't break the total out between those two, which would have been nice to have, but so be it. Based on existing data, I'll assume roughly 25% woodworkers to 75% strict expansion for now, or 12K / 36K.

Hawaii has seen a spike in Medicaid enrollment since eligibility was expanded under the federal Affordable Care Act, with more than 48,000 new enrollees since October.

“The expansion (to 138 percent of the federal poverty level) meant Hawaii was expecting about 48,000 additional beneficiaries because of the mandate that you have to have insurance,” said Kayla Rosenfeld, spokeswoman for the Hawaii Department of Human Services, who noted that enrollment has exceeded that benchmark to date. Increasing enrollment is also due to greater awareness rallying Medicaid-eligible individuals “out of the woodwork.”

That means about half of the estimated 100,000 uninsured that the Hawaii Health Connector has been targeting since October are Medicaid eligible.

It's actually even better than that. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Hawaii has around 102,000 uninsured residents total. However, of these, around 10,000 are undocumented immigrants who are therefore not eligible for either Medicaid or QHP subsidies, bringing the potential total down to around 93,000.

Of those 93,000 people, Kaiser estimates roughly 58,000 are eligible for Medicaid (either via expansion or pre-expansion rules), which means that Hawaii has already enrolled around 83% of their potential Medicaid recipients since October.

The other 35,000 people are eligible to enroll in private QHPs; obviously Hawaii has had a tougher job on that front due to their messed-up exchange, only adding 4,661 people (plus another 4,000 via SHOP or off-exchange enrollments).