Medicare Beneficiaries Unikely to Relocate for Better Coverage

Published Online: January 08, 2014
Katie Sullivan
Across the country, Medicaid expansion varies among states. Some experts worried about whether that variation would drive Americans to relocate to other states so that they could obtain better medical coverage. However, those concerns are likely to prove unfounded, according to a recent study from Harvard.

The Harvard School of Public Health concluded that based on research into previous state medical aid expansions, there was no strong evidence that significant migration effects (otherwise known as the “welfare magnet hypothesis”) would occur. Some states were apprehensive about the strain Medicare beneficiary migration might have on their state budgets.

“These results suggest that migration will not be a common way for people to obtain Medicaid coverage under the current expansion and that interstate migration is not likely to be a significant source of costs for states choosing to expand their programs,” read the study. “Our findings are relevant for forecasting the cost and coverage consequences of states’ decisions about expanding Medicaid eligibility.”

Several states, including New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Utah, are still considering whether to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

In other Medicare news, more than 100,000 Americans who became eligible for Medicaid after applying for insurance through remain unenrolled due to lingering software defects on the website.

“I think people are resigned to the fact that we have a tremendous amount of work ahead of us in the next few months. It is not going to be easy,” said Thomas Shanahan, spokesperson for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. “But we have to get this right from the beginning or the frustration will continue.”

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services officials remain committed to resolving the issues these enrollees are experiencing.

Around the Web

Americans Unlikely to Move to Get Better Medicaid Benefits: Study [Reuters]

Status of State Action on the Medicaid Expansion Decision, as of December 11, 2013 [KFF] Defects Leave Many Americans Eligible for Medicaid, CHIP without Coverage [The Washington Post]