Kansas Medicaid enrollment up 15.4% since COVID hit; 82K - 165K would gain coverage via expansion


I've once again relaunched my project from last fall to track Medicaid enrollment (both standard and expansion alike) on a monthly basis for every state dating back to the ACA being signed into law.

For the various enrollment data, I'm using data from Medicaid.gov's Medicaid Enrollment Data Collected Through MBES reports. Unfortunately, they've only published enrollment data through December 2020. In most states I've been able to get more recent enrollment data from state websites and other sources. For 2021 Kansas data, I'm using estimates based on raw data from the Kansas Dept. of Health & Environment.

Kansas is one of 12 states which still hasn't expanded Medicaid eligibility under the ACA (13 if you include Missouri, whose voters expanded the program last year...but which the state legislature refuses to fund).

Kansas's non-ACA Medicaid enrollment mostly hovered around 375,000 from 2014 - 2020 except for a brief bump in mid-2016...until the COVID pandemic hit in early 2020. Since then, it's increased by 15.4%.

In addition, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, there's 82,000 uninsured Kansans who would become newly eligible if the state were to expand Medicaid under the ACA, including 45,000 currently caught in the "Medicaid Gap" (those who earn less than 100% of the Federal Poverty Level, thus disqualifying them for ACA exchange subsidies either) and another 37,000 uninsured who qualify for a subsidized private healthcare policy but who haven't enrolled in one so far.

This press release from Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, however, puts the number considerably higher, at 165,000 Kansans. Part of the discrepancy may be the roughly 25,000 Kansas residents who earn 100 - 138% FPL who are already enrolled in heavily-subsidized ACA exchange plans; they'd be shifted over to Medicaid instead if the state expanded the program. I'm not sure where the other 58,000 difference comes from, however.

In addition, KFF estimates around 7,000 uninsured KS residents who are already eligible for the program but who haven't signed up as of yet.

Kansas has just over 2.94 million residents according to the 2020 U.S. Census. As of May 2021, around 410,000 of them were enrolled in Medicaid, or 14.0% of the state population.