Decline in Ohio children on Medicaid troubles some officials


AKRON

State data shows the number of children enrolled in Ohio’s Medicaid program declined over a 15-month period, with nearly 37,000 fewer children enrolled as of May of this year, compared with February 2018.

Ohio had previously seen progress for nearly a decade in its efforts to make sure every child had health insurance, expanding Medicaid enrollment to more than 1.2 million children, the Akron Beacon Journal reported .

Child advocacy organizations including the Children’s Defense Fund, the Ohio Poverty Law Center and Voices For Ohio’s Children have raised alarms about the decline and are urging the state to investigate, according to the newspaper. They also are urging the state to simplify a Medicaid re-enrollment process that can be difficult, particularly for those in poverty.

Akron Children’s Hospital CEO Emeritus Bill Considine says some children “are falling through the cracks and not getting medical care that they are entitled to get.”

Brandi Slaughter, project manager for Voices for Ohio’s Children, said children “do better when their health needs are met.”

“Families have greater stability when they are not choosing between paying their utilities and doctors appointments,” she said.

Maureen Corcoran took over this year as state director of the Department of Medicaid. She says her team is reviewing the numbers and working to improve state outreach to enrollees.

“There’s no question we need to do more,” Corcoran said.

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