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Health News Florida

Florida Medicaid Could Face Hefty Deficits

The estimates show an anticipated $417 million deficit in Medicaid for the current fiscal year, which will end June 30, and a $1.434 billion deficit in the 2022-23 fiscal year.

Florida’s swelling Medicaid rolls are expected to help create a nearly $1.9 billion deficit in the safety-net health care program over the next 22 months, according to new estimates drawn up by a state panel.

The estimates, posted Friday, show an anticipated $417 million deficit in Medicaid for the current fiscal year, which will end June 30, and a $1.434 billion deficit in the 2022-23 fiscal year.

In 2022-23, economists estimate the state will need to spend $35.4 billion to keep the Medicaid program operating at current levels. During that year, economists project that lawmakers will need an additional $1.1 billion in general revenue to fund the state's portion of Medicaid, which is jointly financed with the federal government.

Along with facing increased enrollment amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the state will need to boost spending because of an anticipated loss of enhanced federal Medicaid funding.

Congress agreed in March 2020 to beef up the amount it spends on Medicaid by 6.2 percentage points to help states during the pandemic. The more the federal government contributes to the costs of the program, the less the state has to pay.

The Biden administration has extended the increased funding through this calendar year, but state economists did not plan on any of the additional funding beyond Dec. 31.

Economists assumed an average 1 percent rate increase in payments to Medicaid long-term care plans and an average 3.6 percent increase in payments to Medicaid managed “medical assistance” plans, effective Oct. 1.

Managed medical assistance plans provide managed care to the broadest group of Medicaid beneficiaries.

The new forecast came after recent estimates that more than 5 million residents will be enrolled in Medicaid between now and June 30.

Copyright 2021 Health News Florida

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