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New York City Is a Hot Spot for Illegal Medicaid Enrollment

November 30, 2019 in Economics

By Brian Blase, Aaron Yelowitz

Brian Blase and Aaron Yelowitz

New York state is grappling with a Medicaid shortfall in the billions of dollars. And one of the main reasons is improper enrollment.

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Using annual information from the Census Bureau to assess the demographic make-up of Medicaid enrollees over time, researcher Aaron Yelowitz and I estimated that 2.3 million to 3.3 million Medicaid enrollees nationally make an income in excess of what is allowed.

This is of increasing importance given that ObamaCare massively expanded what was historically a welfare program for vulnerable populations like the disabled and low-income children and pregnant women — and tens of billions of taxpayer dollars are at stake.

Excluding traditional pathways onto Medicaid (such as through disability or pregnancy), Yelowitz and I concluded that the number of working-age New York state residents on Medicaid who have incomes above the eligibility threshold rose by more than 80 percent between 2012 and 2017. We estimated that between 337,000 and 433,000 working-age New York state residents with income above the allowed limit are improperly enrolled in Medicaid.

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And nearly half of this improper enrollment is in New York City, with 30 percent in The Bronx and Queens, where a few neighborhoods have among the highest percentage of improper enrollees of anywhere in the country.

In The Bronx, particularly the Concourse, Highbridge and Mount Eden regions, we found that roughly 40 percent of all working-age adults with incomes exceeding income eligibility thresholds were enrolled in Medicaid in 2017. The next-worst area is in Queens — the Elmhurst/South Corona, Jackson Heights/North Corona and Sunnyside/Woodside regions. In those areas, there are likely tens of thousands of ineligible Medicaid enrollees.

ObamaCare deserves much of the blame for the surge in improper enrollment. It created a new category of Medicaid recipients — lower-income, able-bodied, working-age adults — with the federal government paying a much larger share of their expenses than for traditional enrollees.

From 2013 — the year before ObamaCare’s Medicaid …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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