Helping Ohioans Access Affordable Health Coverage Helps Young Children, Too


By: Zach Reat, Ohio Association of Foodbanks


Access to affordable, comprehensive health insurance coverage supports the health and well-being of families and children. Insurance reduces cost barriers for preventive services, like well-child visits and developmental screenings, and enables children with complex conditions to access the services they need. As the weather turns colder, health insurance provides peace of mind while enjoying winter activities like ice skating, skiing, and hanging decorations, without the nagging fear that one slip could lead to serious financial hardship.


In 2019, about 758,000 Ohioans, including almost 37,000 children under 6 years old, did not have health insurance coverage. When people go without health insurance, they are forced to make difficult decisions about delaying or avoiding needed health care. This can lead to prolonged illness, missed wages at work, and missed lessons at school, and it puts families at risk of incurring medical debt. We know that increasing coverage among parents also increases coverage among kids and advances health equity. Unfortunately, finding health insurance that is affordable and meets a family’s needs can be challenging, particularly for people without coverage through an employer.


Medicaid expansion and the creation of the federal Marketplace in 2014 made health insurance available to many previously uninsured Ohioans. More recently, the American Rescue Plan Act created enhanced subsidies for coverage purchased through the Marketplace (healthcare.gov). Marketplace coverage is more affordable than ever. For example, a family with a pregnant mom, spouse, and a four-year-old child living in Lancaster, OH with an annual income of $60,000 can get a plan for as low as $36 per month.


The Ohio Association of Foodbanks (OAF) received a grant from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to provide health insurance Navigator services throughout the state. Navigators help people understand their coverage options, apply for financial help, and use their health insurance.


Get Covered Ohio is a public awareness campaign to educate Ohioans about affordable health insurance options through the Marketplace and Medicaid and connect them with local Navigators. OAF wants advocates to engage with this campaign, so they’ve made it easy! Here are simple ways that you can get engaged in the Get Covered Ohio campaign:

  1. Know someone who needs health insurance? Tell them that they can schedule an appointment with a trained and licensed Navigator by visiting getcoveredohio.org

  2. Follow Get Covered Ohio on Facebook and Twitter, and use #GetCoveredOhio

  3. Use the Get Covered Ohio social media toolkit, including timely and relevant posts updated each month, available at getcoveredohio.org/outreach

  4. Order Get Covered Ohio marketing materials to share with your clients, including materials in Arabic, Chinese, English, Somali, and Spanish

  5. Encourage consumers to share their story about the value of health insurance

For a tour of Get Covered Ohio, and expert guidance for engaging with the campaign, watch this short video. Have questions or want to discuss other opportunities to engage? Contact Zach Reat – zach@ohiofoodbanks.org or (614) 301-2040.

 

Connect with the Get Covered Ohio campaign on Facebook and Twitter at @GetCoveredOhio and online at getcoveredohio.org. For more information about the mission and programs of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, Ohio’s largest charitable response to hunger and lead Get Covered Ohio organizer, visit them at ohiofoodbanks.org or on Facebook and Twitter at @OhioFoodbanks.