Healthcare

Ohio officials are taking a hands-off approach when it comes to promoting the federal health care law.

Ohio's insurance department says no marketing, advertising or outreach efforts are in the works by the state.

That will mean it'll be left up to providers, health centers, and others to get the word out about the law to the more than 1.5 million uninsured Ohioans. Enrollment for new benefits begins in October.

Republican Gov. John Kasich has opted to let the federal government run the state's new health insurance marketplace.

The state of Ohio has received a $2.1 million federal grant to improve criminal background checks for those home health care workers who directly serve the disabled and elderly.

The money means more thorough reviews for more than 100,000 workers who provide direct care to patients in Medicaid- and Medicare-funded settings.

Gov. John Kasich's administration says Ohio also will provide $700,000 in state funds to bolster background checks.

State officials say scammers are trying to steal Ohioans' personal information by claiming to be representatives of the new online insurance marketplaces under the federal health care law.

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who is also the state's insurance director, is issuing a consumer alert after reports of scammers offering to help navigate consumers through the so-called health insurance exchanges.

Taylor says the scammers are trying to capitalize on confusion around the federal Affordable Care Act.

Springfield's Rocking Horse Community Health Center has completed a new expansion project.  The project will allow the center to serve more people and provide more health services to low income residents in Clark County.

Rocking Horse finished its $7.9 million expansion project recently, which involved adding 42,000 square feet to the heath center. With the additional space, there will be more opportunities to provide pediatric, women's and general health services for families.

The leader of the Ohio Senate says he could have chosen his words more carefully when arguing that the federal government has put the state in a difficult position as it decides whether to expand Medicaid.

Senate President Keith Faber said Monday it was "probably inartful" of him to liken the choice to the government loading a revolver, pointing it at states and saying "do this or else." 

Faber, a Celina Republican, had described Medicaid expansion as an ultimatum to the Lima News in an article posted online Saturday. 

A study by the nation's leading group of financial risk analysts says medical claims costs could jump an average 81 percent for individual policy holders in Ohio under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

The report released Tuesday by the Society of Actuaries said the increase will be in large part because sicker people will join the individual insurance pool. It does not project medical claim costs for employer plans, which cover most workers.

The cost of medical claims is the biggest driver of health insurance premiums.

Full episode of WYSO Weekend for March 3, 2012 including the following stories:

-Ohio Senator Portman Talks Sequestration at WPAFB, by Jerry Kenney

-Local Healthcare Providers Weigh Pros and Cons on Medicaid Expansion, by Jerry Kenney

Ohio is prepared to move forward with certain Medicaid contracts after an appellate court ruled in the state's favor in a lawsuit that had blocked officials from signing the agreements.

Amerigroup Corp. had sued the state, claiming the contract application process was flawed. The insurer was not among the top scorers.

The contract winners will provide health care services to 1.6 million Ohioans on Medicaid. The contracts provide billions in government work to the winning companies.

The Ohio House has passed a bill to require training and certification for a new group of professionals who will be available to guide consumers through the new health insurance exchange.

The measure cleared Wednesday on a 56-32 vote, and it now heads to the Senate.

These so-called health navigators will help educate consumers and small businesses about the new online markets created by the federal health care law. Through these exchanges, consumers will be able to buy individual private policies and apply for government subsidies to help pay their premiums.

A new national report says expanding Medicaid eligibility in Ohio under the Affordable Care Act would reduce the number of uninsured residents by half.

It would also cost the state an additional $3.1 billion in the next decade.

The Dayton Daily News says the numbers come from a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a Washington-based nonpartisan health care policy research organization.

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