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What's next following the FCC vote to end net neutrality? We have a pair of reports. Also on our Friday rundown: We'll let you know why adolescents in foster care need opportunities to thrive; and steps you can take to avoid losing your holiday loot.

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Report: Insured Rates in Ohio Stable, For Now

A new poll shows 54 percent of Ohioans get their health insurance through their employer or their spouse's employer. (goir/iStockphoto)
A new poll shows 54 percent of Ohioans get their health insurance through their employer or their spouse's employer. (goir/iStockphoto)
December 7, 2017

COLUMBUS, Ohio – More than 9 out of 10 Ohioans between 18 and 64 have health insurance – and just over half get it from their employer, according to a new Ohio Health Issues Poll out Thursday from the foundation Interact for Health.

Researchers at the private foundation that focuses on improving public health have tracked where people get their insurance since 2006 and found that the rate of uninsured is stabilizing.

Kate Keller, vice president for community and systems strategies with Interact for Health, says the state has made major progress.

"So we're down to about 10 percent, which is about half of where we were prior to the ACA due to the expansion of Medicaid in Ohio, where we have about 750,000 people who now have insurance that didn't have it before, prior to the Affordable Care Act passing," she states.

Ohio fares slightly better than the nation as a whole where 12 percent of adults 18 to 64 are uninsured.

The study also found that 25 percent of Ohio adults in that same age range use public insurance in the form of Medicare, Medicaid or veterans benefits, or some combination of the three.

People who want to buy insurance on the federal exchange – healthcare.gov – need to do so soon, as the open enrollment period ends next Friday, Dec. 15.

The Republican tax bill that passed the Senate includes a repeal of the ACA's individual mandate to buy insurance.

If that becomes law, many healthy people may drop their coverage, leaving more sick people in the insurance pool.

Keller says that could mean higher rates overall.

"If they drop the individual mandate and they don't put any other stopgaps in place, then I would expect to see the insurance industry take a hit, and that hit would then be passed on to their consumers," she points out.

The Trump administration recently stopped making cost sharing reduction payments to the insurers, who built that into their rates.

By law insurers have to continue to offer low cost plans on the marketplace – and the subsidies will still be there for people who qualify.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - OH