Financial requirements prevent Medicaid patients from getting needed care
Posted February 16, 2015 in Press Releases
Research shows that imposing Medicaid costs creates a barrier to care that can lead to serious medical conditions and drive up health-care costs.
Contact: Wendy Patton, 614.221.4505
By Wendy Patton
Monthly premiums that the Kasich administration wants to charge some Medicaid recipients could backfire because they will pose a serious barrier to health care for some. People unable to afford the premiums may delay treatment or turn to emergency rooms, which will drive up costs. More than 490,000 Ohioans whose wages are too low to buy insurance signed up for Medicaid health care coverage in Ohio under the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. They can now see a doctor to manage chronic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, and prevent serious illness. As more people see a doctor, fewer come into the emergency room with medical crises and without insurance. This is good for the patient, who is healthier, and good for the health system, which is strengthened financially. This also controls health-care costs for the rest of us. Imposing monthly premiums on poor people could put this virtuous cycle in reverse. Cost-sharing through insurance premiums and co-payments is standard in the health care system, but can keep the poor from seeking and affording care. Their limited incomes are spent to meet other basic needs, such as food and shelter. The executive budget will require premiums up to 2 percent of adjusted income for low-wage, childless adults. If they don’t pay they may lose coverage. Those who lose coverage because they haven’t been able to pay the premium may have to pay what they owe for prior months before they can regain care. This may be expensive to enrollees, harder to repay if they fall behind, and expensive for the state to track and administer. Financial requirements may keep poor families from getting care The administration has proposed a reauthorization of Medicaid expansion to provide coverage for working-poor adults. This is excellent for the half-million Ohioans who gained needed health coverage under Medicaid expansion in 2014. But the executive budget released February 4 has added a requirement that some adults with income between 100 and 138 percent of poverty