Office of Health Transformation Update
December 6, 2016
Signed out of prison, signed up for insurance
Ohio leads the nation in addressing a problem that was reported today by NPR – the lack of health coverage for prisoners upon release. Many inmates have a mental illness or addiction that, without treatment, can lead them to commit another crime and return to prison. In 2013, Governor Kasich expanded Medicaid to cover Ohioans with monthly income less than $1,366. For current prisoners, Ohio Medicaid now covers hospitalizations that last more than 24 hours, saving the state prison system more than $10 million annually. For prisoners prior to release, Ohio Medicaid now enrolls them in a private-sector Medicaid managed care plan so that upon release they have immediate access to healthcare services, including mental health services. In the past, ex-offenders were typically released with a small supply of their medications and had to go to county agencies to apply for health care services, a process that often took 45 days or longer. To date, more than 8,000 individuals have benefited from the Ohio Medicaid Pre-Release Enrollment Program, which has helped them transition from prison to the community by providing access to the services they need to stay healthy and support recovery.