Ohioans Impacted by COVID-19 Look for Healthcare Coverage During Open Enrollment

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Buckeye Health Plan Health offers information on health insurance options

The COVID-19 pandemic caused many Ohioans to experience a change in employment that may also impact their health coverage. In fact, as of Oct. 24, 830,000 Ohioans signed up for unemployment benefits during the pandemic. About half of Ohioans get their health insurance through their employer,[1] so for many people, being newly unemployed or taking a job that does not offer health insurance brings uncertainty about their healthcare options.

Medicaid and Marketplace coverage is available to all Ohioans who qualify. Both types of insurance are currently in an Open Enrollment period. For those experiencing a gap in healthcare coverage or who are looking to find the right healthcare coverage for their needs, Buckeye Health Plan provides important information about coverage options.

“The impacts of the COVID-19 public health crisis are far reaching. It’s not only affecting the health of Ohioans, but also their employment situation and ability to access healthcare,” said Buckeye Health Plan CEO Steve Province. “At Buckeye, we provide information about Medicaid and Marketplace insurance, to help Ohioans get coverage and the care they need.”

Information for the uninsured

For many of these Americans, change of employment doesn’t just create worry about providing financially for their families. It also raises concerns about protecting their health. It’s important for Ohioans who have lost their healthcare coverage to know that the Affordable Care Act includes a provision that gives people 60 days to enroll in Marketplace coverage after a qualifying life event. Eligible Ohioans can enroll in Medicaid at any time of year.

Ohioans trying to apply for jobs and manage personal and professional stresses may put applying for health insurance on the back burner, leaving a gap in coverage. This makes them vulnerable to poor health, high out of pocket medical costs and even debt.

Lack of insurance often leads to lack of preventative care, missed appointments and health challenges down the road. One in five people without health insurance skip treatment because of cost.[2] And, for those who do seek medical attention, the bills can add up. More than half of uninsured people said they had problems paying household medical bills in the past year.[3]

Ohioans can avoid large medical bills and even take advantage of some preventative services available at no cost to them by signing up for affordable healthcare options during Open Enrollment.

Enrollment is open for Medicaid and the federal Health Insurance Marketplace through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Each program has unique characteristics and requirements:

  • Medicaid offers no-cost health insurance coverage for those who qualify, such as individuals, pregnant women, infants and children or those with disabilities.Medicaid enrollment is offered year-round, and healthcare services provided up to three months prior to enrollment can be covered retroactively. To learn if you are eligible and to sign up for Medicaid, visit www.benefits.ohio.gov or call 1-800-324-8680.
  • The Federal Health Insurance Marketplace offers coverage for anyone who doesn’t receive employer-provided coverage, and it allows people to choose from multiple health insurance plans to find the right coverage.  To find out if you qualify and shop for coverage, visit Healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596.

Information for Current Medicaid and Marketplace members

For Ohioans who recently enrolled in Medicaid or Marketplace coverage, Open Enrollment during November can be an important time to compare the benefits and services of their current health insurance with other plans. Not all Marketplace coverage is the same and, Ohioans have several options to choose from. Ohio Medicaid members can choose from five managed care plans that coordinate care.

When considering which plan is right for them, Ohioans should consider extra benefits, special programs and services, rewards among other factors. Buckeye makes it easy to understand the difference between plans. For any questions about health insurance coverage options, visit BuckeyeHealthPlan.com or call 1-866-246-4358.

About Buckeye Health Plan (www.buckeyehealthplan.com)

Buckeye Health Plan offers managed healthcare for Ohioans on Medicaid, Medicare, integrated Medicaid-Medicare (called MyCare Ohio) and the Health Insurance Exchange. Since 2004, Buckeye has been dedicated to improving the health of Ohioans, many with low incomes, by providing coordinated healthcare and other essential supports that individuals and families need to grow and thrive. FollowBuckeye on Twitter @Buckeye_Health and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BuckeyeHealthPlan.Buckeye is a wholly owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation, a leading multi-national healthcare enterprise-offering core Medicaid, Medicare and specialty services.


[1] https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/total-population/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D

[2] ftp://ftp.cdc.gov/pub/Health_Statistics/NCHS/Dataset_Documentation/NHIS/2017/srvydesc.pdf

[3] https://www.kff.org/report-section/the-burden-of-medical-debt-section-1-who-has-medical-bill-problems-and-what-are-the-contributing-factors/

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