CareSource sees uptick in Ohio Medicaid enrollment

Dayton-based CareSource and other insurance companies that manage Medicaid plans saw an uptick in people enrolled in Ohio Medicaid the first half of this year.

Through the first half of 2020, CareSource’s enrollment for covered families and children with Ohio Medicaid grew 7.5%, from 1.19 million to 1.28 million people, according to an analysis by Allan Baumgarten, author of the forthcoming Ohio Health Market Review 2020.

The moderate increase in people covered through the state-federal health insurance program was likely partially a result of more people qualifying for Medicaid during the pandemic downturn.

“Typically during recession, Medicaid fills in the gap in terms of coverage. The good news is that also helps with recovery,” said Loren Anthes, Medicaid policy analyst with Cleveland-based Center for Community Solutions. “It helps to keep the economy flowing and money moving through communities because a lot of dollars flow through hospitals.”

This increase also reflects a decision by the Ohio Department of Medicaid to take emergency measures to make it easier to stay enrolled during the pandemic, waiving some of the red tape typically required of members to stay enrolled month after month.

Steve Ringel, CareSource’s Ohio market president, said the company expects the increase to go back down.

“It’s already starting to slow and we anticipate by late this year, early next year, it will start returning to normal levels,” Ringel said.

The Dayton-based insurance company, which is one of the largest local employers, recorded $4.8 billion in revenue for that line of business and a net income of $107.6 million for the first half of the year, according to Baumgarten.

Ringel said these numbers are incomplete and should change after calculating more insurance claims that come in and are paid out for care provided the first half of the year.

The state also changed CareSource’s payment rate earlier this year, Ringel noted. People sought less health care during the stay-at-home order and so, with insurance companies paying out less money on claims, Ohio Medicaid cut the rate it pays CareSource.

By the numbers

7.5%: CareSource growth in covered Ohio Medicaid covered families and children for first half of 2020

9.1%: Ohio Medicaid total growth in covered families and children

2.5 million: Total Ohio Medicaid covered families and children

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