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Health and Medicine

Ohio Medicaid is backlogged with 70,000 applications
Only about 65 percent of the almost 350,000 applications filed from Oct. 1 to March 31 have been processed

In The Region:
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 Jan. 1,, Ohio Medicaid changed its eligibility to include all adults making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. That expanded eligibility for low-income people was part of the design of the federal health care reform law, but only about half the states have actually accepted the billions in federal funds associated with the program.
LISTEN: Lewis Wallace describes application review

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Since December, Ohio Medicaid has seen a surge in applications, and now anyone with a qualifying income who seeks out a plan through federal website also gets forwarded to the state-run Medicaid program.

But at least 70,000 people who applied for health care through the federal ACA exchange have been waiting weeks or months for their applications to be processed through Ohio Medicaid. A total of 117,000 applications through the federal website or phone number were forwarded to the state, but Sam Rossi of the Ohio Department of Medicaid says Ohio didn’t receive any of those applications until late February. Many of them had small glitches and inconsistencies in the data, and around 45,000 were found to be duplicates with applications that had already come directly to the state.

Finally, the state says some smaller counties started receiving some of the more complicated applications within the last few weeks. Montgomery county is expecting to start getting applications in batches of several hundred a week by the end of April.

These applicants who have been on hold have seen several deadlines and deadline extensions under the ACA come and go — but the feds say they won’t be subject to the law’s penalties for not having coverage by March 31 as long as they started an application sometime before then.

Even without the web of ACA complexities, Ohio Medicaid is dealing with a backup: as of March 31, another 119,725 Medicaid applications received directly by the state were still pending; the Ohio Department of Medicaid expects to get through the overall backlog sometime in May.

Ohio Medicaid got almost 350,000 applications from Oct. 1-March 31; about 65 percent of those have been processed. As of March 31, 106,238 had been enrolled in the health insurance program based on the new, expanded eligibility.

Listener Comments:

What a timely story. I am 52 years old and have worked and paid taxes since I was 14 years old. I moved to OHIO last year to take a job in Cincinnati. In November I had a terrible fall at my home, which has left me damaged and unable to perform my job. I was let go in January because of it(not there long enough for FLMA). I was thrilled when I heard healthcare is just around the corner and signed up asap in Feb.

When I contacted the ACA website in March as hearing nothing, I was told my application had been sent to Ohio Medicaid. I called them. They said a ton of applications had been lost, and I had to start again. Now, in mid April I am told I don't qualify for these benefits, nor does my adult MRDD child who receives SSI!

I requested a hearing and my care worker cancelled on me (due to a family emergency). When I called 3 hours before my phone hearing and told them, I was told it could be rescheduled.

Today? Got the letter, reschedule denied. Bye Bye now.

This is what I am dealing with, the red tape, the debacle and the stress. I have insulin dependence diabetes, I have thyroid disease, I have arthritis and I have neuropathy. This doesn't even count the damages from the fall!

Long story short....if I was a drug addict there wouldn't be one second of delay. Guess I picked the wrong career.

Posted by: Tina Dayhaw (West Chester OH) on April 25, 2014 2:04AM
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