BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana will spend around $400 million less on Medicaid than expected in 2019, according to new Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) projections.
LDH attributes the cost reduction to its new system, which requires Medicaid recipients to report their income on a quarterly basis. Before 2019, LDH checked income yearly. Any income changes that came after that report, such as a job change or promotion, had to be self-reported.
When LDH implemented the new program, it kicked 30,000 people off the Medicaid rosters for making too much money. Around 80,000 people have left the program since Jan. 1.
Louisiana is among the only states with a falling reinsurance rate, meaning more people are continuing to get health insurance primarily because of Medicaid expansion.
“These are taxpayer dollars,” Louisiana Budget Project head, Jan Moller, said. “We want to make sure the people who are eligible are the ones getting the service.”
The vast majority ($396 million) of the $400 million is federal money, meaning it will not be drawn down and cannot be used for other costs. It’s not a surplus or savings, since it’s money the state simply does not need and will therefore not receive.