Gov. John Kasich’s administration asked federal regulators on Friday to approve a state plan to
charge new fees to Medicaid recipients and impose penalties on those who miss payments.
Administration officials project tens of thousands of poor Ohioans will lose tax-funded health
coverage while taxpayers save nearly $1 billion.
The plan, dubbed the Healthy Ohio Program, would require all non-disabled adults to make monthly
payments into a health-savings account to help cover their expenses beginning Jan. 1, 2018.
Republican leaders in the General Assembly tucked the proposal into last year’s state budget
despite cautions from administration officials that it contained provisions never before approved
by the federal government and pleas from advocates for the poor that thousands would lose
No other state drops people with incomes below 100 percent of poverty, that’s $11,770 a year for
an individual, from coverage for failing to pay a premium or contribution to a health savings
Under the plan, certain Medicaid beneficiaries would be required to make monthly contributions
equal to 2 percent of their income but no more than $99 a year, to a health savings account. Those
who fail to make the payments will lose coverage and can’t re-enroll until the debt is repaid.
Money in the accounts could be used to pay new Medicaid co-pays, including $75 for inpatient
services and $8 for non-emergency use of emergency rooms.
Ohio’s Medicaid program covers 3 million poor and disabled adults. That includes more than
650,000 adults with annual incomes under 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or $16,394 a
year, who signed up for benefits since Jan. 1, 2014, when Ohio expanded Medicaid through