Medicaid Waiver planned to serve more uninsured
MetroHealth is partnering with the state of Ohio to reduce the uninsured rate in Cuyahoga County for thousands of low-income adults.
If approved, this Medicaid Waiver program, called MetroHealth Care Plus, would offer healthcare coverage for county residents ages 19 to 64 who are uninsured, not eligible for regular Medicaid and have an income at or below 133% of the federal poverty level.
John Corlett, MetroHealth’s Vice President for Government Relations and Community Affairs, answers questions about the program and what it means for the county.
Why is MetroHealth pursuing this waiver?
Over the last three years, MetroHealth has experienced a tremendous growth in uninsured patient visits – up 42 percent between 2008 and 2011. What has been particularly noteworthy about this increase is that the largest percentage increases have occurred in suburban communities not typically association with the uninsured.
Cuyahoga County is estimated to have more than 157,000 uninsured adults, and 4 out of 10 of them are projected to have an income at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. The waiver would provide Medicaid coverage for an estimated 30 percent of the eligible population.
This waiver will help prepare the safety net system and uninsured individuals for health care expansion in 2014, and expand access to health care services, particularly in terms of behavioral health.
What are the benefits for Cuyahoga County residents who fall under the waiver program?
The waiver includes a comprehensive set of benefits to eligible patients. All MetroHealth Care Plus patients will be enrolled in a patient centered medical home, which emphasizes care coordination, patient wellness and improved quality of care. There will be no co-pays or cost-sharing for enrolled patients.
In addition we plan to partner with other community partners including federally qualified health centers, community behavioral health agencies, home health care providers, durable medical equipment providers and pharmacies.