On March 29, the Department of Health Services (DHS) submitted an updated projection for the state’s Medicaid budget to the Joint Finance Committee. DHS estimates the Medicaid budget will end the current 2017-19 biennium with a surplus of $233.9 million GPR. The biennium ends on June 30, 2019. This is an increase of $21.1 million over DHS’s December estimate. DHS explains the improved position is due to lower expenditure trends in fee-for-service categories, including personal care, nursing home, federally qualified health centers, and dental. In addition, DHS states revenues from prescription drug rebates are up, and the state received a higher federal match on specific hospital payments.
With only one quarter left in the fiscal year, DHS states that the estimate is a “good predictor” of the Medicaid budget. Yet, the department warns that changes in the Medicaid program can impact the balance at the end of the fiscal year.