The number of Medicaid applications submitted in South Carolina in January dropped 3.6 percent compared with a mid-year monthly average in 2013.
The federal government released new Medicaid application data for all states on Friday but did not include Medicaid applications that were submitted through the federal health insurance marketplace, HealthCare.gov.
The report shows 25,981 new applications were submitted for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program in South Carolina in January, compared with an average 26,947 per month last summer.
Officials at the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services previously explained that comparing application data between different months paints an inaccurate picture of growth because Medicaid enrollment fluctuates by season.
On Friday, S.C. Medicaid Director Tony Keck called the new federal report "unreliable." The report itself indicated that "the January data presented in this report should be considered preliminary."
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid estimate that 8.9 million individuals in the U.S. were determined eligible for Medicaid or CHIP between Oct. 1 and Jan. 31, but the report did not provide an estimate of the Affordable Care Act's impact on Medicaid enrollment.
South Carolina is one of about half of all states that will not expand eligibility for its Medicaid program under the federal health care law.
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