Ga. Officials Want Millions More To Cover Growing Medicaid Rolls

The website, where people can buy health insurance, is displayed on a laptop screen in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. Consumers shopping on the government’s health insurance website should find it easier this year to get basic questions answered about their doctors, medications and costs, according to an internal government document. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The state agency that oversees Georgia’s Medicaid program says it needs tens of millions of dollars more this budget year to cover its expanding roles, and more than $100 million the following year.

The Georgia Department of Community Health has requested an additional $82.8 million in state funds to cover Medicaid growth for Fiscal Year 2017, which started in June. DCH will also ask for another $121.4 million in FY 2018.  

Speaking at the agency’s board meeting Thursday, DCH CFO Elizabeth Brady said changes to Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, are pushing the rolls up.

Brady said under the president’s signature health care law, eligibility reviews changed from every six months to 12, meaning recipients stay on the federal health plan longer. She also cited the so-called “woodwork effect,” meaning new Medicaid signups by people who were eligible prior to Obamacare but didn’t realize it.

Brady said the agency expects enrollment in Medicaid and PeachCare, the state’s insurance program for kids, to grow by 2 percent in the current budget year, and another 2 percent next year.

The growth would bring total enrollment in the two programs from about 2 million currently to 2.1 million by midyear 2018.

The requests now head to the governor’s office.