Ohio Asks For Medicaid Waivers To Battle Coronavirus Effects

Apr 14, 2020

Ohio is asking for permission from the federal government to fast-track some rules and exceptions in Medicaid related to the COVID-19 crisis. The state is asking for a pair of waivers that many other states are already using.

Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran says an 1135 waiver would give the state flexibility with certain health care programs.

“We can make some exceptions related to certain hospital rules and emergency rooms. We can do some things to streamline eligibility and not require face-to-face – for example, allow more things to be done over the phone.”

Ohio has already expanded telehealth for doctors, psychologists, counselors and other medical professionals, so patients can see them virtually and not in emergency rooms or health care facilities.

The state has also applied for a waiver - known as a 1915c Appendix K amendment - that will allow for the expansion of home and community based services for the elderly and disabled and temporary payments to family caregivers.

Corcoran said the state isn’t changing the eligibility requirements for Medicaid, but with the likelihood that more people will be applying because they’ve lost their jobs and their income, these actions will help streamline the process.

“All these waivers and things that I’ve mentioned will just remove some of the administrative barriers and will enable us to do that more quickly and more efficiently.”

Nearly every state has applied for an 1135 waiver - only Ohio and Wisconsin don't have one.  25 states don't have an 1915c Appendix K amendment.