Report estimates Virginia's Medicaid costs to rise by nearly $1B

November 16, 2015

A state forecast expects Virginia's Medicaid costs to increase by nearly $1 billion through the next two-year budget. The $956-million increase is due primarily to a surge in enrollment by people who were eligible for program benefits but either did not know it or did not act on it until this year. Since July 1, more than 51,000 people have enrolled in the program, including 11,000 low-income parents who became aware they are eligible for Medicaid because of the debate over expanding the program and the requirement that individuals have some form of medical insurance under the ACA. House Appropriations Chairman S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) said the forecast will leave little latitude for any new initiatives in the next budget. Gov. Terry McAuliffe's spokesman said most of the increase is one-time, externally imposed expenses. McAuliffe plans to renew a push to expand Medicaid in Virginia under the ACA. A report released in June by the White House Council of Economic Advisers said Virginia will miss out on $1.24 billion in federal funding in 2016 by not expanding Medicaid. The administration estimates the state would see $157 million in net savings in the upcoming budget by expanding the program on Jan. 1, 2017.