Medicaid enrollment tops 7 millionNews added by Benefits Pro on August 11, 2014

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By Kathryn Mayer

More than 7 million people have gained health coverage through government programs, including Medicaid, since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act plan options launched last October.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Friday announced that 7.2 million people have gained health insurance through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. All told, 66 million people are now covered by Medicaid.

Those numbers were achieved in part by the 26 states that chose to expand Medicaid, which is optional under the law. HHS said those states saw sign-ups increase by 18.5 percent compared with 4 percent in non-expansion states.

In a blog post, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Deputy Administrator Cindy Mann said that Medicaid expansion “continues to help an unprecedented number of Americans access health coverage for the very first time.”

Unlike enrollment in health plans through exchanges, consumers may enroll in Medicaid or CHIP year-round.

Gallup research, out this week, found that states that have embraced the law — by expanding Medicaid and establishing a state-based exchange or state-federal partnership — have experienced the sharpest drops in their uninsured rates. The nation’s uninsured rate sits at 13.4 percent, a record low, the polling firm said.

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