Source: Office of Health Transformation
Ohio leads the nation in addressing a problem that was recently reported on by National Public Radio 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 health care 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.
- Signed Out of Prison, but not Signed up for Insurance (NPR, December 2016)
- State Pushes Medicaid Sign-Ups for Inmates (The Columbus Dispatch July 2015)
- Ohio Prisons Credit $10 Million Savings to Medicaid Changes (USA Today September 2014)
1 thought on “Health Coverage for Prisoners upon Release”
This is a good effort. I work in a free clinic. We routinely see people who have done their time, and are released with a few days worth of meds, a list of doctors (whose next available new patient appointment is 6 weeks out, IF they even take Medicaid), maybe a place to stay, and no transportation. I wonder how well any of us would do in similar circumstances.
We emptied mental institutions to “mainstream” people with mental health illnesses, then failed to provide the services in the community to treat them. Now the prisons are full, not only with plain criminals, but people stuck in the cycle of mental illness, addiction, poverty, lack of education, joblessness, hopelessness,and the culture of violence. If we want a better society, we need to step up and invest in common sense solutions that work. TNSTAAFL.
Sorry to be preachy, but it hit a nerve.