US States by Medicaid Enrollment

Millions of Americans rely on medicaid coverage.
Millions of Americans rely on medicaid coverage.

Medicaid is a social healthcare program initiated by the government of the US in 1965 to help individuals and families who could not afford healthcare. The program provides health insurance services to US citizens from the low-income bracket and serves more than 70 million persons. Subsequent governments have made improvements and expansions to the program to reach out to more people by providing quality and affordable healthcare. One such effort towards improving and expanding the program is Obamacare under the Affordable Healthcare Act and the Children’s Health Insurance Program of 1997. The federal and state governments provide funding for the Medicaid program, with the respective states handling the management of the program including setting standard eligibility requirements for enrollment into the program. Some states have, in recent years, expanded the program and have high numbers of enrollments.

US States by Medicaid Enrollment

Washington, D.C

Washington targets enrolling people living with disabilities such as blindness, the aged, low-income parents of eligible children, and pregnant women with income levels of up to 185% of the federal poverty line. Washington’s enrollment into the program has increased over the years due to the introduction of strategies for enrolling new members and retaining previous eligible persons. Washington enrolls about 38% of the total, which is the highest rate in the US.

New Mexico

With an enrollment rate of 33.8%, New Mexico is the second leading US state in the number of enrollments. New Mexico expanded the program through the Obamacare initiative, which has seen the number of enrollments increase by more than 60%. The expansion saw the inclusion of individuals earning an income of up to 138% of the federal poverty line. The program in New Mexico is open for enrollment throughout the year as long the candidates meet the eligibility standards set by the state.


Vermont has an enrollment rate of 33.3% and is one of the states that has expanded the Medicaid program under various initiatives such as CHIP and Obamacare, leading to a growth of 11% in enrollments. The state has one of the lowest rates of uninsured residents that fall below the national average. Eligible members include pregnant women with incomes of up to 208% of poverty, children with incomes of up to 312% of poverty, and adults whose incomes are up to 138% of poverty.

New York

The enrollment rate into the Medicaid program in New York is 30.9%, the fourth highest rate in the US. Before the Obamacare initiative, New York made vigorous efforts in providing quality and affordable healthcare to its residents, especially the low-income earners. The state has fully embraced Obamacare in expanding the Medicaid program resulting in a 13% increase in the enrollment rates.


California has an enrollment rate of 28.1%, one of the highest in the country. The enrollment rates have grown by about 57% since the incorporation of Obamacare into the Medi-Cal program. The state has relatively relaxed eligibility standards as compared to other states including the coverage of children up to 18 years whose families have incomes of up to 2665% of poverty level.

Eligibility standards

The Medicaid program particularly targets low-income earners. However, there are certain standards that vary from one state to the other, which determine the suitability of applicants in benefiting from the program. The most basic standards include having a low income and being a US citizen or permanent resident. Other standards include certain disabilities, pregnancy, and the amount of income.

US States by Medicaid Enrollment

RankStatePopulation Percentage on Medicaid/CHIP (Source: Forbes)
1Washington, D.C.38
2New Mexico33.8
4New York30.9
6West Virginia28.1
10Rhode Island24.4

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