WASHINGTON, D.C. – With health coverage for nearly half a million Ohioans on the line, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) urged state legislators to continue expanded Medicaid coverage that promotes preventive health and reduces expensive emergency room visits – the cost of which are usually passed on to taxpayers. Although Governor Kasich expanded Medicaid eligibility for low-income Ohioans as a part of the health law, the Ohio legislature must approve the extension of federal funding by June to keep the program in place. If Ohio does not act, more than 450,000 Ohioans could lose coverage and the state could miss out on more than $2.5 billion in federal funds.
“We should be helping Ohioans gain health care – not cutting them off,” Brown said. “One of the key components of the health law expanded both the eligibility and federal funding for Medicaid. It’s clear that this law is saving lives, but it’s also saving money.
“I urge the Ohio state legislature to include Medicaid expansion in the budget,” Brown continued. “The benefits for both Ohioans – and the state’s bottom line – are clear.”
During a news conference call today, Brown was joined by Charles McClinon of Cincinnati, in supporting Governor Kasich’s plan to continue Medicaid expansion and urging the Ohio legislature to approve the funding. Before 2014, Mr. McClinon was unable to work, and therefore uninsured, due to severe epilepsy. After securing health insurance through expanded Medicaid, he underwent a life-changing surgery that offset his seizures and allowed him to return to work. Mr. McClinon is just one of over 450,000 Ohioans benefitting from the state’s expanded Medicaid program.
With nearly one month left for Ohioans to get covered in 2015, Brown will also alert Ohioans to resources available for enrolling in health insurance through the new health insurance Marketplace Exchange. The enrollment period for 2015 coverage is open through February 15, 2015.
Ohioans can sign up for health insurance coverage before February 15, 2015 in one of four different ways:
- Online – Visit Healthcare.gov to apply and enroll through the internet.
- Over the Phone – Call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 with questions or to enroll over the phone.
- In-Person – Visit LocalHelp.HealthCare.gov or call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 to get a list of people in your community who are trained and certified to help you enroll in person.
- Paper Application – Call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 to request a paper application or download one from Healthcare.gov to fill out and send in.
The health law has already protected millions of Ohioans by ending lifetime caps on insurance coverage, ensuring coverage for both children and adults with pre-existing conditions, allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance until their 26th birthday, offering free preventive care in new private insurance plans, closing the gap in prescription drug coverage for seniors, and providing tax credits to small businesses to help them afford health coverage for their employees.