By Marshall Griffin, KWMU
Jefferson City, MO – The number of Missourians on Medicaid has increased by nearly five percent over the past year.
More than 871,000 residents were enrolled in Missouri HealthNet, the state's Medicaid program, as of June 2009. That's 39,000 more than in June of last year.
Scott Rowson is with the Department of Social Services.
"Certainly it's an indicator of the poor state of the economy...I think there are just a lot of families out there hurting, and unfortunately, qualifying for Medicaid," Rowson said.
The largest increase was in children covered by either traditional Medicaid or by the State Children's Health Insurance Program, or SCHIP.
"The children make up the majority of the Missouri HealthNet enrollees, so you would naturally see their absolute number increase out of proportion to the others," Rowson said.
Rowson added that Missouri's Medicaid rolls are expected to continue growing.