Medicaid

Another Battle Is Brewing Over Ohio’s Medicaid Expansion

Oct 7, 2014

The expansion of Medicaid to previously uninsured Ohioans began in January and has given nearly 340,000 residents health coverage. But the program's long-term success is also uncertain, as the political battle over Medicaid expansion in Ohio is about to begin round two.

The total numbers of backed up Medicaid applications by county. Ohio Medicaid as well as the federal Affordable Care Act have had backlogs piling up the last few months.
Ohio Governor's Office of Health Transformation

The Ohio Department of Medicaid is just beginning to process through a giant backlog of applications received between October 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014, many of which are because of the expansion of the program under the Affordable Care Act. On January 1, 2014, Ohio Medicaid changed its eligibility to include all adults making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

It’s the last week to sign up for health plans under the Affordable Care Act—the deadline is Monday, March 31. As people continue to wade through the confusion surrounding the law, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced it will offer some wiggle room on the deadline.

Ohio officials are reporting over 23,000 people newly eligible for Medicaid in Ohio got enrolled in January, after Ohio Governor John Kasich decided to expand the insurance program to cover more low-income people using Affordable Care Act funds.

Medicaid can be tricky to quantify, however.

At the Montgomery County Job Center’s health care room, the people coming in are a mix—some have been on and off Medicaid, and some are signing up for subsidized care for the first time.

Ohio officials say they've received more than 17,000 applications from people seeking Medicaid health coverage through a new state website.

The online enrollment option became available Dec. 9 to eligible low-income families, along with individuals who fell under an expansion of the federal-state program for the poor and disabled.  It wasn't clear how many online applications came from those newly eligible under the Medicaid extension.

A spokesman for the state's Medicaid department says the website has been working smoothly.

When you look back at what the Ohio legislature did this year, you’ll discover a lot of controversial bills didn’t actually pass both chambers. Perhaps the biggest bill passed this year, the $62 billion dollar budget, also had some of those controversial bills attached to it.

Now that the Ohio Supreme Court has made a decision on Medicaid expansion, it appears it’s here to stay - at least for now.  After the Medicaid expansion vote before the Controlling Board in October, the lawsuit was filed and then was fast-tracked to get a ruling by the end of the year so there were no oral arguments before the justices. Four of them agreed that the Controlling Board had the authority to approve spending $2.5 billion federal dollars on Medicaid expansion. The other three dissenting justices wanted to dismiss the case.

Lewis Wallace / WYSO

 The Montgomery County Department of Job and Family Services reports uninsured people in the Dayton area are starting to take advantage of the newly expanded eligibility for Medicaid.

State Unveils New Medicaid Application System

Dec 11, 2013

The state says it’s created a new system to connect Ohioans to Medicaid benefits, faster. This is just another step in the state’s project to better coordinate public assistance programs.

The new system received more than 1,100 applications in its first day of operation.  This was also the first time people under the expanded Medicaid program could sign-up online.  The digital application service replaces the old system which had been in place for 32 years.

Low-income Ohioans can start signing up for Medicaid coverage online, along with those who are newly eligible under an expansion of the health program.

The online enrollment option being launched today is part of a new state system. Residents also can learn about what type of health coverage could be available to them through the new website, www.benefits.ohio.gov.

Ohioans who are newly eligible for Medicaid under an expansion of the program can apply for coverage that begins on Jan. 1.

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