Day 31- Medicaid at 50: State Highlight: West Virginia

wvWest Virginia covers over 530,000 people in its Medicaid and CHIP programs.

West Virginia’s experience with Medicaid expansion has certainly been unique! The state was hot out of the gates when Medicaid expansion first started, enrolling the second highest percent increase. However, in the last year, this has settled to a 50% increase (8th most of expansion states).

The initial increase was largely because the state elected to take advantage of four of the five strategies that CMS offered states to target enrollment and ease the application process. One of the most successful strategies was the SNAP administrative transfer. This strategy uses already existing state SNAP programs to determine eligible individuals. A constant difficulty for advocates and state agency is reaching out to eligible but unenrolled individuals. This strategy assists finding these people by utilizing existing systems, rather than recreating the wheel.

What’s more, West Virginia was the first state to show reports that ER usage hadn’t immediately increased as a result of more people being on Medicaid. I haven’t seen more reports from the state but it would be an interesting thing to follow how ER usage among the newly eligible is different between states. But you didn’t need me to tell you that.

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