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Ohio Medicaid director says program change won't disrupt health care

Ohio Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran testified before the House Finance Commission discussing the two-year state budget in February 2021.
Karen Kasler
Statehouse News Bureau
Ohio Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran testified before the House Finance Commission discussing the two-year state budget in February 2021.

Ohio’s Medicaid director is taking issue with a report from a progressive think tank that suggests millions of people in the program could have their health care interrupted because of a change that takes effect in July.

Medicaid participants will be notified soon they must confirm which of seven managed care plans they want – though people who’ve been in Medicaid haven’t had to do that if they wanted to stay with their plan. Ohio Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran said part of the reason for that is to get people to be more engaged and informed about their health care.

"We know that when people have to kind of stop and think about it, they're going to get more drawn into their health care," Corcoran said. "We want to encourage people to be affirmative and learn and be active in their health care."

Those who don’t respond could be assigned to different plans later this year, but Corcoran said they can always switch back.

“If a person doesn’t choose and we then make an assignment, they still can choose to go back to the plan they had had maybe a year ago or - they still have a choice, even if they hadn’t responded previously. So prioritizing choice is number one," said Corcoran.

Eventually, as many as 80,000 Ohioans could be moved to the new plans that need participants, but Corcoran says they can change back till the end of November. But Corcoran notes that's a very small percentage of the program's participants.

The group Innovation Ohio suggested those reassignments could disrupt health care for millions. But Corcoran says careful matching - finding plans that keep people in their networks, for instance - should mean that won’t happen, or that it would be rare.

And Corcoran noted that for now, no one can be disenrolled from Medicaid because there's a public health emergency declaration still in effect for the pandemic.

Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.