New York’s per-capita Medicaid spending soared to more than double the nationwide rate in 2018, widening its gap with the other 49 states.

New York’s version of Medicaid, a health plan for the low-income and disabled, cost $3,869 per resident during the federal fiscal year ending in September 2018. That was 107 percent higher than the nationwide cost of $1,866 per resident.

New York’s rate was also 29 percent higher than the second-highest state, which was Alaska.

New York was topped only by the District of Columbia, a city with a large low-income population, which spent more at $4,218 per person.

Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

This analysis is based on the most recently available Medicaid Financial Management Report from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The disparities between New York and the rest of the country had widened significantly in just two years. In 2016, New York’s per-capita spending of $3,236 was 79 percent higher than the national rate and 14 percent higher than the No. 2 state, which at the time was Vermont.

Albany’s spending surge came at a time of flat or declining overall enrollment, both in New York and nationwide.

During that period, however, New York was experiencing a sharp increase in demand for home-based care, especially the non-medical services known as “personal assistance.” 

As of 2016 – the last year for which nationwide data is readily available – New York accounted for 40 percent of nationwide Medicaid spending on personal assistance, up from 23 percent when Governor Cuomo took office in 2011. The program has continued to grow rapidly in the years since – and became a central target for the cost cutting changes recommended by the governor’s Medicaid Redesign Team earlier this year.

The coronavirus pandemic is likely to increase pressure on Medicaid’s finances. Between February and May, enrollment in the program jumped 4.3 percent to an all-time high of more than 6.3 million.

About the Author

Bill Hammond

As the Empire Center’s senior fellow for health policy, Bill Hammond tracks fast-moving developments in New York’s massive health care industry, with a focus on how decisions made in Albany and Washington affect the well-being of patients, providers, taxpayers and the state’s economy.

Read more by Bill Hammond

You may also like

New York’s Medicaid Enrollment Surges to an All-Time High

New York's Medicaid program is growing at its fastest rate in six years, with a quarter-million additional enrollees landing in the safety-net health plan during the first three months of the coronavirus pandemic.  Read More

New York’s Health Premiums Remain Among the Highest in the U.S.

The average cost of New Yorkers' health benefits increased by less than the national average in 2019 but remained among the highest in the U.S., according to recently published federal data. Read More

New York’s Medicaid Roller Coaster Takes an Unusual Turn

The state's Medicaid spending was significantly lower than projected in the first quarter, but that's not necessarily a positive sign for state finances. Read More

Filling in the Blanks of New York’s Coronavirus Pandemic

Because New York was hit with the coronavirus early, before testing was widely available, its official count of infections – at just over 400,000 – vastly understates the scale of its outbreak. Read More

Cuomo Administration Ducks Important Questions on Nursing Homes

A new report from the state Health Department tries to deflect blame for thousands of coronavirus deaths in the state's nursing homes—but undermines its own case by withholding data and engaging in tendentious analysis. Read More

Nursing Home Vacancy Rate Soars, Hinting at a Higher Coronavirus Toll

The vacancy rate in New York's nursing homes has more than doubled since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, suggesting that the death toll among residents may be thousands higher than officially reported. Read More

Unsure of COVID Impact, NY Insurers Roll Dice on Rate Hikes

The health insurance industry's rate applications for 2021, , reveal deep uncertainty about the long-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic on medical costs. Some companies anticip Read More

Hospitalization rising in some areas

Coronavirus hospitalizations are surging in parts of upstate, including three regions that the Cuomo administration authorized to begin reopening today. Read More

Subscribe

Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100
Fax: 518-434-3130
E-Mail: info@empirecenter.org

About

The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.