A record number of New Yorkers applied for the Medicaid program between 2008 and 2019.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli‘s office issued a report saying the increased enrollment has contributed to a steep decline in the number of New York residents without health coverage. New York ranked 8th lowest in the country for uninsured residents in 2019, which is an improvement from 20 in 2008.
According to a report, the number of state residents without health care coverage declined from 2.2 million in 2008 to 1 million in 2019. The expansion of the Medicaid program played a large role in the sharp drop in the number of uninsured New Yorkers.
DiNapoli said while the drop in New Yorkers without health coverage is positive news, State budget projections rely on expectations for significant enrollment declines that may not materialize, which could drive significant unbudgeted costs.
Medicaid is the second largest category of state spending, estimated at $27.8 billion. As a result of the economic instability caused by the pandemic, monthly Medicaid enrollment swelled to more than 7 million people in February 2021. The Division of Budget currently estimates that enrollment will decline by more than one million individuals in state fiscal year 2022-23; however, should this reduction occur at a slower rate or should enrollment fail to decline by as much as projected, the State financial plan will incur additional costs.
The report recommended that to protect the long-term viability of the Medicaid program, State policymakers should closely monitor Medicaid enrollment and spending trends, and engage stakeholders in developing strategies to protect the quality of care for program participants while effectively containing costs.