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Rep. Russo, Dem lawmakers seek information on decline in children's enrollment in Medicaid

July 24, 2019
Democrat Newsroom

State Rep. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) and fellow House Democrats today sent a letter* to the Ohio Department of Medicaid asking them to investigate the declining number of children insured by Medicaid.

“We know there are long term consequences to children’s health and attainment when they lose access to quality, affordable healthcare,” writes Russo. “In light of the forthcoming implementation of the Medicaid work requirements, it is essential that we as lawmakers better understand these recent disenrollment numbers in children and their parents.” 

The number of children enrolled in Ohio’s Medicaid program declined by approximately 37,000, or three percent, between February 2018 and April 2019, according to reports.

Read the letter below:

Director Maureen M. Corcoran
Ohio Department of Medicaid
50 West Town Street, Suite 400
Columbus, Ohio 43215

July 23, 2019

Dear Director Corcoran,

As you are aware, the number of children enrolled in Ohio’s Medicaid program has decreased at an alarming rate over the past 15 months, with approximately 37,000, or three percent, fewer enrollees in April 2019 compared to February 2018.

These decreasing enrollment numbers are especially concerning because we have worked diligently over the last decade to increase the number of insured children, and we know there are long-term consequences to children’s health and attainment when they lose access to quality, affordable healthcare. Children without consistent healthcare are more likely to perform poorly in school and face negative, long-term consequences in health, education and financial well-being.i

To date, the Department of Medicaid has not given lawmakers or key stakeholders a clear answer for the significant enrollment decline. Data from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities suggests Ohio’s enrollment decline cannot be entirely due to increased parental employment and the acquisition of employer-sponsored health insurance,ii as most new jobs in Ohio are low-wage jobs with no health benefits.iii

In 2018, only 12 percent of Ohio Medicaid cases were closed for income-related issues, while between 2015 and 2018 half of cases were closed due to recipients failing to comply with outdated and cumbersome re-enrollment processes.iv While some of the lack in compliance may be because prior enrollees are no longer income-eligible, we do not have a full picture of the declining enrollment of children and would like accessible, transparent information from the Department of Medicaid to better understand this recent trend.

To that end, we would like answers to the following questions:

  • Why is the number of children in Ohio enrolled in Medicaid/CHIP decreasing?
  • What is the relationship between children losing Medicaid/CHIP and their parents losing Medicaid coverage? Among children who became disenrolled, what, if any, Medicaid category are parents in?
  • Why are fewer Medicaid recipients renewing their benefits?
  • What are Medicaid’s immediate action steps to ensure eligible children receive Medicaid benefits?
  • What is Medicaid’s long-term plan to collect information about disenrollment, create greater transparency with enrollment and ensure individuals eligible for Medicaid stay enrolled?
  • For the Medicaid expansion population, what has changed in terms of eligibility processing with Ohio Integrated Eligibility System? How has it affected Group VIII enrollments?
  • Has the number of retrospective and presumptive eligibility cases changed? What category of Medicaid eligibility are these individuals in?

In light of forthcoming implementation of Medicaid work requirements, it is essential that we as lawmakers better understand these recent disenrollment numbers among children and their parents. We would appreciate a timely response sent to the office of Representative Russo.

Sincerely,

C. Allison Russo
State Representative
House District 24

Gil Blair
State Representative
House District 63

Kristin Boggs
State Representative
House District 18

Janine Boyd
State Representative
House District 09

Juanita Brent
State Representative
House District 12

Richard Brown
State Representative
House District 20

Randi Clites
State Representative
House District 75

Erica C. Crawley
State Representative
House District 26

Jeff Crossman
State Representative
House District 15

Tavia Galonski
State Representative
House District 35

Catherine Ingram
State Representative
House District 32

Brigid Kelly
State Representative
House District 31

David Leland
State Representative
House District 22

Michele Lepore-Hagan
State Representative
House District 58

Mary Lightbody
State Representative
House District 19

Adam Miller
State Representative
House District 17

Jessica E. Miranda
State Representative
House District 28

Phil Robinson
State Representative
House District 06

Michael Skindell
State Representative
House District 13

Kent Smith
State Representative
House District 08

Lisa Sobecki
State Representative
House District 45

Bride Rose Sweeney
State Representative
House District 14

Terrence Upchurch
State Representative
House District 10

Casey Weinstein
State Representative
House District 37

Thomas West
State Representative
House District 49

Emilia Strong Sykes
State Representative
House District 34

      

ihttps://www.cbpp.org/research/health/medicaid-works-for-children
ii https://www.cbpp.org/research/health/medicaid-enrollment-decline-among-adults-and-children-too-large-to-be-explained-by
iii https://www.policymattersohio.org/research-policy/fair-economy/work-wages/minimum-wage/working-for-less-too-many-jobs-still-pay-too-little-2019
iv https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/3984bb_4618f36f468b4ad296ff2c6eb54a4d0d.pdf