Voices for Ohio’s Children appreciates The Dispatch’s coverage highlighting the fall-off in Medicaid enrollment in Franklin County and the State of Ohio (“Why Medicaid recipients removed a mystery,” Jan. 13 article). Voices is especially concerned about the decline of Ohio children who are insured through Medicaid.
Between January and November of 2018, 33,000 children lost Medicaid, a drop of 2.7 percent. If the lower numbers mean that more children are moving from Medicaid to comprehensive private health-care coverage, there is no need for concern. Unfortunately, private coverage is not expanding. In fact, in 2017 employer-based health coverage of children under age 19 was at a low of 57.3 percent.
The Affordable Care Act Marketplace has not expanded sufficiently to explain the Medicaid drop.
We call on Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration to invest the resources to find out why so many children have lost Medicaid and to learn whether they have secured other health coverage. The Ohio Department of Medicaid should engage in a vigorous outreach campaign to “right size” the children’s Medicaid/CHIP program by bringing back all of those children who are income-eligible but lost benefits at the point of recertification or other information request.
Programs like Medicaid and CHIP remain an excellent investment in Ohio’s children. We know that children on Medicaid and CHIP are twice as likely to access needed services as children who are Medicaid-eligible but not enrolled.
Through Medicaid and CHIP, young children access a wide range of benefits that help them meet the developmental milestones that are so necessary to be ready for kindergarten. For school-age children, having access to health care is linked to greater academic success and a better start on life overall.
The state should make sure the process to get enrolled and remain enrolled is a smooth one.