About 1.7 million poor Americans looking for health coverage were deemed eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in November, according to new government data released on Friday. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also revised previous estimates that about 1.5 million people qualified for Medicaid or CHIP in October up to 2.1 million. All told, that means that just under four million low-income Americans now have access to public health insurance.
CMS noted that Medicaid and CHIP applications have been spiking since Obamacare’s open enrollment season began in October. In states that expanded Medicaid, applications soared by 15 percent in October compared to the previous three months. Strikingly, applications have been on the rise even in states that didn’t expand Medicaid, likely because intense media coverage of the health law rollout is bringing people who didn’t know they qualified for public insurance out of the woodwork.
President Barack Obama also stated that 500,000 Americans chose private health plans through Affordable Care Act marketplaces in the first three weeks of December alone during an end-of-the-year press conference. Over one million people have signed up for private health plans since the open enrollment period began at the beginning of October.