A higher percentage of Scioto County residents are enrolled in Medicaid than residents of 86 other counties in Ohio. In other words, we are the second most Medicaid-reliant county in Ohio. As a faith leader in Portsmouth and a member of the community, I understand the importance of Medicaid. It is able to provide reliable health care to many vulnerable populations who otherwise would be unable to access health insurance.
Part of the reason for Medicaid’s success in Ohio is that the open enrollment process is relatively straightforward. Unfortunately, the Ohio Department of Medicaid is planning a change to open enrollment that would threaten the health of Ohioans with Medicaid.
It would effectively remove all existing Medicaid members from their plans; they would then have to reselect their current plan and if they don’t they would be placed on a plan that may be different. This differs from the existing system in that currently during open enrollment, Medicaid members don’t have to do anything if they want to stick with what they have.
For those who don’t respond or aren’t aware that they need to respond to reselect their current plan, they could end up having to change doctors or face other burdens that threaten continuity of care and positive health outcomes.
Medicaid assists in covering rural health clinics and federal qualified health centers, prescription drugs, nursing home and home health care, among many other services vital to people in Southeast Ohio and throughout our state. If this change goes into effect, the people who Medicaid serves — including the elderly and people living in poverty or with disabilities — would bear the brunt of the unintended consequences.
This writer’s opinion is their own and not the opinion of this newspaper