Governor Wolf Announces Pennsylvania’s Medicaid Expansion Population Has Exceeded 500,000

December 10, 2015

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced that more than half a million Pennsylvanians have enrolled in HealthChoices since Pennsylvania expanded its Medicaid program. Governor Wolf and Department of Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas announced the milestone at an enrollment event at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

“Since my administration expanded Medicaid, more than half a million Pennsylvanians now have access to health care,” said Governor Wolf. “The commonwealth’s uninsured population has dropped from 14 percent in 2013 to eight percent today. The overwhelming response to Medicaid expansion further proves the significant pent-up demand and need for health care in the commonwealth. Access to health care means Pennsylvanians can take charge of their health by receiving preventive services at the right time, in the appropriate place, avoiding costly trips to the emergency room.”

In February, Governor Wolf announced his decision to expand Medicaid eligibility in Pennsylvania under the Affordable Care Act, allowing individuals who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty guidelines to obtain health care coverage.

“Because of Governor Wolf’s expansion of Medicaid, hundreds of thousands of people have a brighter future and better potential health outcomes,” said Secretary Dallas. “This provides the added bonus of enhancing the fiscal well-being of our state.”

What do 500,000 newly eligible Pennsylvanians look like?

  • Pennsylvanians age 21– 30 years old represent 34 percent of the newly eligible. The second largest age group            are those age 31 – 40 year, at 24 percent.
  • 55 percent are woman and 45 percent are men
  • 59 percent are white, 23 percent are African-American, 10 percent are Hispanic and 4 percent are Asian
  • Every county has had a resident able to obtain access to health care coverage
  • Philadelphia is home to 22 percent of the newly eligible enrollees
  • 14 counties have 10,000 or more newly eligible individuals
  • Sullivan, Pennsylvania’s smallest county, now has 217 newly eligible residents covered under Medicaid

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation report, states that expanded Medicaid experienced substantially slower Medicaid spending growth (3.4 percent) than non-expansion states (6.9 percent). The federal government will assume 100 percent of the Medicaid costs of covering newly eligible individuals for the first three years. After that, states are required to contribute a percentage match, reaching the maximum 10 percent in 2021.

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