Tennessee: Medicaid enrollment up 10.2% since COVID hit; 226K would gain coverage via #ACA 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 Tennessee, I'm using estimates based on raw data from the Tennessee Division of TennCare for January 2021 and beyond.

Tennessee 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).

Tennessee's non-ACA Medicaid enrollment hovered between 4.2 - 4.3 million people from 2015 - 2020...but since the COVID pandemic hit in early 2020, it's increased by 10.2%.

In addition, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, there's 226,000 uninsured Tennessee residents who would become newly eligible if the state were to expand Medicaid under the ACA, including 118,000 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 108,000 uninsured who qualify for a subsidized private healthcare policy but who haven't enrolled in one so far.

In addition, KFF estimates around 30,000 uninsured TN residents who are already eligible for the program but who haven't signed up as of yet.

Tennessee has around 6.9 million residents according to the 2020 U.S. Census. As of May 2021, around 1.75 million of them were enrolled in Medicaid, or 25.4% of the state population.