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Health and Medicine


More than 20,000 new enrollees in Ohio's Medicaid program
Numbers in Ohio and other states fluctuate based on jobs, families and other factors
Story by LEWIS WALLACE


 
Courtesy of IMAGES OF MONEY
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In The Region:

Twenty-three thousand people who were newly eligible for Medicaid in Ohio were enrolled last month. That’s after Ohio Gov. John Kasich decided to expand the insurance program to cover more low-income people using Affordable Care Act funds. But, as WYSO’s Lewis Wallace reports, Medicaid an be tricky to quantify.

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In 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 the subsidized care for the first time. 

Steve and Tina Thompson are in that first group. 

The couple had Medicaid, but it was cancelled. They’re not sure why, but they’re they’re back to re-enroll. But not without some trouble.

“I went to get my medicine the other day and it was almost $500, (so I) couldn’t get it. And then I’m due for surgery in two months, (but) can’t get it, until I get my insurance.” 

The experience of cycling on an off Medicaid insurance is so common, experts have a name for it: “churning.”  It usually happens because of eligibility changes, a change in income or family status, or a new job. 

But it means total Medicaid enrollment numbers fluctuate. 

And the numbers of newly eligible people who’ve signed up are actually pretty low compared to that total number of Ohioans on Medicaid -- 2.4 million, or one in five.

People without health insurance can check their eligibility on benefits.ohio.gov

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