U.S. Medicaid enrollment nears 7 million since Obamacare rollout

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[July 12, 2014]  WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New enrollments in Obamacare's Medicaid expansion and other healthcare programs for the poor have reached 6.7 million people since the launch of President Barack Obama's healthcare reforms last year, the administration said on Friday.

The figures, which include state Medicaid plans that existed before Obamacare and the Children's Health Insurance Program, show enrollment climbing by 920,000 people during May, the latest month for which data is available. All told, new enrollments are up 11.4 percent since last October's Obamacare rollout.

Eight million Americans have also signed up for private health insurance through new state-based Obamacare insurance marketplaces. But while private enrollment ended last spring, Medicaid enrollment continues year round.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) did not break out the number of people enrolled in states that have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which makes benefits available to most low-income people with annual earnings of up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level.

But CMS said enrollment in Medicaid programs have risen 17 percent in 25 states and the District of Columbia, which have expanded Medicaid. New enrollments were only 3 percent higher in states that have not.

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In 38 states that reported relevant data, more than half of all Medicaid and CHIP enrollees were children, according to CMS.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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