SC Medicaid director: Predictions could be way off

By SEANNA ADCOXAssociated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The director of South Carolina's Medicaid agency is warning legislators that the numbers of already-eligible residents signing up for the government program through 2014 could exceed estimates, further eating into state revenue.

The Department of Health and Human Service's preliminary budget calls for an additional $194 million in 2013-14. That would eat up all projected additional state revenue. Director Tony Keck told a Senate panel Wednesday that's his baseline, though he knows the full amount won't be in Gov. Nikki Haley's executive budget proposal.

Keck says about $70 million of that is due to the federal health care overhaul, as half of those already eligible for Medicaid choose the coverage. But Keck says the projections are very uncertain.

His budget doesn't include expanding eligibility under the federal law.