Medicaid Waivers

cannon and dorisSafeguarding access to OHIO Medicaid for foster care alumni ages 18-26

Currently, Ohio foster care youth, alumni and allies are concerned about barriers to access of Ohio Medicaid when it comes to former foster youth.

Ohio foster care youth, alumni and allies previously gave legislative testimony, wrote letters and wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Columbus Dispatch regarding  Ohio’s proposed Healthy Ohio Program demonstration waiver, based on the barriers that it created to extended heath care coverage for former foster youth between ages 18-26.

Our shared concern was that, rather than increasing and strengthening healthcare access for former foster  youth, the requirements proposed by this waiver had the potential to cut off healthcare access for our population altogether:

  • Coverage would only begin after a required payment is made into a healthcare savings account
  • If youth missed two payments, they would be locked out of their account
  • There was no requirement to cover all essential health benefits
  • There was a cap on yearly and lifetime expenses.

During the 30 day period for public comment, 900 responses were submitted about the Healthy Ohio waiver – and less than 1% were positive. These responses were submitted to the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services, and they made the final decision about whether or not to approve Ohio’s demonstration waiver.

We consider this federal response to be the best “no” that Ohio has ever received. The Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services denied the waiver, and provided the following reasons for doing so:


*It’s important to note that the prescriptive language that informed this waiver comes directly from HB 64, the details are listed in Ohio Revised Code, sections 5166.40-5166.409.  This remains a matter of concern, and an opportunity for future advocacy.

If you have questions, or want to become involved, please contact




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