Total Medicaid enrollment 1966-2018

Nearly 75 million Americans were estimated to be enrolled in the Medicaid program as of 2018. That is a significant increase down from around 48 million ten years earlier. Medicaid is basically a joint federal and state health program which provides medical coverage to low-income individuals and families. Currently, Medicaid is responsible for 17 percent of the nation’s health care bill, making it the third largest payer behind private insurances and Medicare.

From the beginning to Obamacare

Medicaid was implemented in 1965 and since then has become the largest source of medical services for Americans with low income and limited resources. The program has become particularly prominent since the introduction of President Obama’s health reform – the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - in 2010. Medicaid was largely impacted by this reform, for states now had the opportunity to expand Medicaid eligibility to larger parts of the uninsured population. Thus, the percentage of uninsured in the United States decreased from over 16 percent in 2010 to nine percent in 2017.

Who is enrolled in Medicaid?

Medicaid enrollment is divided mainly into four groups of beneficiaries: children, adults under 65 years of age, seniors aged 65 years or older, and disabled people. Children are the largest group, with a share of over 40 percent of enrollees. However, their share of Medicaid expenditures is relatively small, with around 20 percent. Compared to that, disabled people, accounting for 15 percent of total enrollment, were responsible for some 40 percent of total expenditures. Around half of total Medicaid spending goes to managed care and health plans.

Total Medicaid enrollment from 1966 to 2018

Enrollment in millions
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Source

Release date

September 2018

Region

United States

Survey time period

1966 to 2018

Supplementary notes

Enrollment in millions of person-year equivalents. Enrollment data for the period 1966 to 1976 have been revised to be consistent with the current definition of the Federal Fiscal Year (October-September).
* Estimated.
** Projected.

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Statistics on "Medicaid/CHIP"

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