Ohio is cutting red tape that has prevented many children and women from getting medical services in a timely manner. Leaders recently announced the expansion of “presumptive eligibility” to include both children and pregnant women, so they can see a doctor or get needed medication while their Medicaid eligibility is being processed.
State director of Medicaid John McCarthy says this will greatly improve health outcomes for women and children.
“The purpose of this is to make sure that they get in, they’re able to see a provider, get the services they need right away, and in those 60 days then go in and have a full Medicaid eligibility determination completed.”
Sandy Oxley, state field director for Voices for Ohio’s Children, says the state has high rates of premature births and low-birth-weight babies. She says presumptive eligibility will go a long way in reducing those numbers because healthy moms mean healthier babies.
“Far too many pregnant women have gone without prenatal care because they can’t afford it or because they feel like they can’t cut through the red tape to enroll in Medicaid. This will make getting care easier, meaning more women should have healthy pregnancy outcomes.”
Oxley says this expansion will benefit the state as a whole, because we’ll have children growing up to become healthy, contributing members of society.
“Research shows us that children with health insurance are more likely to obtain preventive care, see a doctor when they are sick, participate in physical activity and live longer, healthier and more productive lives.”
Another important change is that more entities will be allowed to determine presumptive eligibility, such as children’s hospitals and federally qualified health centers. McCarthy says it will allow even more children and expectant mothers to get immediate access to care.