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Employed but uninsured? In Ohio, you’re not alone

The number of uninsured Ohioans fell from 2015 to 2016, though thousands of full-time workers remain without health coverage.

There were 644,000 uninsured Ohioans in 2016, according to the latest census data available. Census data shows the number of uninsured Ohioans is declining, down from 746,000 in 2015.

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More than 60 percent of those uninsured in the state were employed but without employer-supported coverage, according to Policy Matters Ohio, a labor-focused think tank.

Four in 10 uninsured adults in Ohio worked full time.

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Policy Matters Ohio included the data as part of a series of reports on Ohio health insurance.

Senior researcher Amanda Woodrum said in the report that low-wage employers were “especially inadequate in their support of employee health” and offered health benefits to less than one-third of 1.2 million employees in the state in low wage work.

Low-wage employers were defined as employers that pay half or more of employees at or below the 25th percentile for all hourly wages in U.S. In 2016, that amount was $11.50 per hour.

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“More can and should be done to ensure equal access to health care in the richest nation in the world,” Woodrum stated. “Given downward trends in employer-supported health care, the public sector can, should and does help pick up the slack.”

Woodrum reported 4.6 million Ohioans not able to get employer-sponsored insurance receive insurance through Medicare, Medicaid, or the publicly-subsidized health insurance marketplace.

She wrote that employers limit eligibility by restricting employees to part-time or temporary status and implementing waiting periods for coverage. She also cited cost-sharing policies that amount to as much as 25 percent of a low-wage worker’s pre-tax income as a barrier to health care coverage.

Are you uninsured? We’d like to hear from you. Reach out to reporter Kaitlin Schroeder at 937-225-2279 or kaitlin.schroeder@coxinc.com.

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