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Medicaid enrollment surges in Nevada

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Updated: 6/03 11:26 pm

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Medicaid enrollment has surged this year so much that the state is trying to catch up on the backlog.

The director of Health and Human Services gave a progress report to members of the State Economic Forum Tuesday.

Medicaid is for those who qualify for it, usually those who are financially challenged.

Now that the Affordable Care Act mandates insurance starting this year, Medicaid enrollment rose higher than the state projected. Many uninsured Nevadans through Medicaid now are covered, like Maria Hernandez.

"It's a great thing, a great help, a lot of help," Hernandez said.

Hernandez is one of almost 500,000 people who have enrolled for Medicaid, and this has caused quite a backlog. As a result of this surge, the state has hired more than 400 people and more than 50 temps to help in the processing.

DHHS Director Mike Wilden says the backlog is gradually going down to a manageable level. He believes it will be normal by next month.

Some new sets of people eligible for Medicaid this year include parent/caretakers and childless adults. In three years, the state will need to come up with 10 percent of this funding.

When the time comes, Nevada will need to come up with $300 to $400 million, according to an estimate by Forum Chairman Matthew Maddox.

As more people continue to qualify and enroll for Medicaid, they will have new places to turn: new offices are opening soon in Las Vegas.

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