The number of Medicaid recipients in South Carolina is continuing to grow.
The Charleston Post & Courier cited new federal data when it noted Medicaid enrollment in South Carolina increased by net of 67,000 additional low-income residents between October of 2013 and July 2014.
Total enrollment in the federal program topped 857,000 people earlier this summer – an 8.5 percent jump in 10 months. State Medicaid officials have attributed the increase to its new “Express Lane” eligibility process, which informs those who receive food stamps or welfare payments when they are also eligible for the low-income health insurance program. Tens of thousands more applied after learning they were eligible through the new health insurance exchanges.
Other states are seeing an increase in Medicaid enrollment due to expanding eligibility under the Affordable Care Act. However South Carolina’s Republican lawmakers voted against expanding Medicaid eligibility, saying it would be too expensive. The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional, but that participation in Medicaid expansion is optional.
The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services predicted Medicaid enrollment would have grown to 1.5 million people by 2020 if the state expanded eligibility requirements.