Ohio Expands Medicaid Insurance Coverage of Assisted Living

Armen Hareyan's picture
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An Ohio Medicaid program was expanded this month to cover beneficiaries in assisted living facilities, but "only time will tell if assisted living becomes a true option" for Ohio Medicaid beneficiaries, the Dayton Daily News reports. Assisted living -- the fastest growing type of housing in the country, according to AARP -- usually is half the cost of nursing home care and allows patients more freedom, while providing 24-hour supervision, meals, transportation and housekeeping services, according to the Daily News.

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Medicaid covers nursing home care for all elderly beneficiaries, but states must apply for a federal waiver to provide coverage for assisted living. Ohio last year received a waiver to allow coverage of assisted living. However, fewer than 240 of the 33,000 assisted living residents in Ohio are covered by Medicaid, and only 58 of the 280 eligible assisted living facilities accept Medicaid beneficiaries.

The assisted living industry says Ohio's reimbursement rate, a maximum of $2,700 per month, is insufficient. A Miami University study found that the industry's average monthly cost in 2005 was $3,240. The state says its reimbursements are in line with the finding of a MetLife survey that shows the average national cost for assisted living was $2,400 per month. According to the Daily News, the "larger issue" is whether the industry in Ohio, which traditionally has targeted more affluent people who can afford to pay for their own health care, is willing to serve Medicaid beneficiaries (DeBrosse, Dayton Daily News, 7/23).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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