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Proposed Healthy Ohio Medicaid waiver not good for foster youth

Proposed Healthy Ohio Medicaid waiver not good for foster youth

PCSAO today expressed opposition to the state’s Healthy Ohio waiver proposal because it will result in loss of Medicaid coverage for foster youth.

According to Executive Director Angela Sausser, access to vital behavioral and physical health care is crucial for youth in foster care or emancipated from foster care. “We are disappointed that the exemption for wards of the state does not extend to youth ages 18 and over who are in custody of a public children services agency, or for youth who were formerly in foster care,” she said. “Further, former foster youth who were in agency custody on their 18th birthday are also included in Healthy Ohio. These youth do not have family to fall back on when they experience hurdles and need help. Requiring cost-sharing starting at 10% of the federal poverty level for this population may discourage some youth from seeking employment.”

Sausser also noted that the waiver requires participants, with the exception of those with incomes between 0 and 9% of the federal poverty level, to contribute monthly to a “Buckeye account.” “While the amounts can be seen as modest, research and other states’ experiences have shown that even modest cost-sharing creates significant barriers,” she said.

In comments submitted to the Ohio Department of Medicaid, PCSAO recommended that youth 18+ in agency custody and former foster youth be exempt from Healthy Ohio and that the federal exemption from cost-sharing for children in foster care and individuals receiving Title IV-E benefits continue in Ohio. Read PCSAO’s full comments.