Back-to-School Checklist: Remember Health-Care Coverage
Tuesday, August 16, 2022
As a new school year kicks into gear, advocacy groups want to ensure Ohio kids have access to medical coverage to keep them healthy and ready to learn.
It is estimated more than half the roughly four million uninsured children in the U.S. are eligible for Medicaid, and the "Get Covered Ohio" campaign is working to bridge the gaps preventing families from enrolling.
Zach Reat, director of health initiatives for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, which is doing targeted outreach in Franklin County to help families navigate the enrollment process. He explained they will focus on Hispanic populations, which have higher uninsured rates.
"There's just a lot of confusing requirements," Reat pointed out. "They ask a lot of questions about different types of assets in the application process. And pulling together all those answers and the verification documents that are required can be a really confusing process."
Researchers say children's access to health insurance improves outcomes for children, including educational attainment and economic security.
Reat noted with Medicaid coverage, children can get important routine care services including doctor visits, checkups and immunizations. More information about enrollment is online at getcoveredohio.org.
The Ohio Association of Foodbanks received funding for expanded outreach through the federal "Connecting Kids to Coverage" project.
Pandemic-era policies helped expand Medicaid enrollment, and Reat argued they will continue their work throughout the year to help keep kids covered.
"As the public health emergency around COVID-19 comes to an end, there's going to be a really important need to make sure people are filling out the reinstatement paperwork for Medicaid," Reat emphasized. "We're going to be here to help them with that process."
An estimated 1.3 million Ohio kids have Medicaid coverage. In Ohio, a child is eligible if their household income is below 206% of the federal poverty level; about $4,700 a month for a family of four.
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