Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish urges Medicaid recipients to reapply for coverage
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Posted by: Samantha Porter
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Thousands of Cuyahoga County residents receiving healthcare coverage under last year's Medicaid expansion will lose their insurance unless they reapply promptly, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish said Tuesday.
Some have already received letters from the state warning them that coverage will stop. Churches and community groups should reach out to those signed up for health insurance under expanded Medicaid and remind them they need to reapply this year, Budish said.
"It's not hard to do, but it has to be done," said Budish, a lawyer who specializes in senior citizen issues and for years hosted the "Golden Opportunities" infomercial. "If they don't, they will lose their Medicaid benefits, some as early as the end of this month."
Budish trumpeted the message this afternoon at Greater Abyssinian Church on East 105th Street in Cleveland. He was joined by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Cuyahoga County Councilmen Anthony Hairston and Dale Miller and representatives from Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth System and University Hospitals.
Also backing Budish were representatives from Cuyahoga County Jobs and Family Services, United Way of Greater Cleveland, The Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, Care Alliance Health Center, Northeast Ohio Neighborhood Health Services Inc. and other agencies, organizations and faith groups.
Budish said the county will join these groups in a campaign -- Renew Medicaid 1-2-3 -- to re-enroll those who qualify for expanded Medicaid.
Budish said last year, the county helped more than 90,000 residents apply for expended Medicaid. Residents earning $10,000-$15,000 a year -- not enough to afford private insurance -- can now have medical coverage, Budish said.
What's not well known is that those receiving coverage under the Medicaid expansion must reapply annually. Budish said those who have received warning letters must submit information as soon as possible.
The best and fastest way to reapply is through benefits.ohio.gov. Applicants should open their existing online accounts and select the "renew my benefits" feature. Submitting information online would also allow the state and county governments to identify additional benefits for which applicants qualify.
Those needing help can visit one of five Jobs and Family Services centers, Budish said. Also, the Cuyahoga County Public and Cleveland Public libraries will make some computers available for Medicaid reapplications. In addition, residents can call 211, the United Way information helpline.
Budish said the county will send Medicaid worksheets to residents who have received warning letters. Meanwhile, anyone working with an expanded-Medicaid client should spread the word.
"You know who needs the help," Budish said. And I need your help today."
One audience member said Medicaid clients have found it practically impossible to reach overloaded caseworkers.
Budish, who took office in January, said some problems run deeper than the Medicaid expansion.
"We will try to fix those issues," Budish said.