Ohio health insurance exchange
Ohio Letting HHS run exchange, but expanding Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of low income residents
By Louise Norris
November 29, 2013
CMS announced on November 22 that the technology necessary for applicants to enroll in exchange plans directly through insurers was working and available in three states, including Ohio, which should help to increase enrollment numbers in December. By November 2, applications had been completed in the Ohio exchange for more than 45,000 residents, although most had not yet selected their plans. 7,535 of them were eligible for existing Medicaid or CHIP, and 1,150 had selected private plans in the exchange.
Ohio Governor John Kasich is not an ACA proponent, but he’s long been a supporter of expanding Medicaid in Ohio, which was approved in late October 2013. Eligible residents can begin enrolling on December 9. However, opponents of Medicaid expansion have brought a lawsuit against the Ohio Department of Medicaid and the state’s Controlling Board because the General Assembly was bypassed in the decision to expand Medicaid. The plaintiffs hope to block the state from expanding Medicaid to cover approximately 366,000 residents who would be newly eligible under the expanded guidelines.
In November 2012, Governor Kasich formally announced that Ohio would not implement a state-run health insurance exchange. In the same letter, Kasich indicated that Ohio would retain control of plan management activities and determining eligibility for the state’s Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP).
In June 2013, the Ohio Department of Insurance issued a press release announcing that 14 insurers filed plans to offer more than 200 options for individual insurance, and seven insurers would offer 84 options for small businesses. Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who also directs the state’s insurance department, stated in the press release that “consumers will have fewer choices and pay much higher premiums for their health insurance starting in 2014.” Both opponents and supporters of the Affordable Care Act jumped on the press release. Opponents claimed Ohio was the latest example of “rate shock.” Supporters dismissed the announcement for making “apples-to-oranges” comparisons and pointed out that both Kasich and Taylor have been outspoken about their opposition to the ACA.
By the time the exchange opened in October, two of the original carriers had backed out, leaving 12 carriers and roughly 200 plans in the still very robust Ohio exchange. Averaged across all age groups, the lowest cost bronze plan in the Ohio exchange is $263/month, and the lowest cost silver plan is $304/month. Rates in the Ohio exchange are just slightly lower than the average of the 36 states where HHS is running the exchange.
Laws were enacted in Ohio to make it more difficult for navigators to be certified, which means that the state has fewer people available to assist applicants, and there was a delay in getting them started as navigators after the exchange opened on October 1.
Ohio residents can compare plans, determine subsidy eligibility and enroll in coverage at Healthcare.gov.
Ohio health insurance exchange links
State Exchange Profile: Ohio
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation overview of Ohio’s progress toward creating a state health insurance exchange.