‘Welcome-mat effect’ to boost Medicaid enrollment

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A University of Minnesota study says the federal health care overhaul is likely to boost enrollment in Medicaid by people who are already eligible but not currently enrolled.

And that means states will face higher Medicaid spending and caseloads, even states that don’t opt to expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act.

The study, published Wednesday in the journal Health Affairs, seeks to quantify the “welcome-mat effect.” Using the 2006 health care overhaul in Massachusetts as a model, the researchers pegged it at 19.4 percent.

Lead researcher Julie Sonier says the effect could be larger in some states and smaller than others depending on how much outreach they do as they implement the federal overhaul, which makes health insurance coverage mandatory for nearly everyone next year.

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Online:

The study can be found at: http://content.healthaffairs.org/lookup/doi/10.1377/hlthaff.2013.0360

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