Foodbanks Take The Lead As Ohio Expands Medicaid

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Columbus area food banks were taking calls Monday as Ohio became the 25th state to expand Medicaid.

"I just spoke to a woman by the name of Cindy who had phoned, worried about losing food stamps and not being able to afford health care," said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Second Harvest Foodbanks.  "I told her today is the beginning of being able to enroll in Medicaid and she couldn’t believe it."

Ohio food banks for weeks have been distributing Medicaid applications because many low-income Ohioans may not have access to the internet.

So far, more than 1,300 people have signed up with food banks requesting help with Medicaid expansion.

"Far too many of our folks are making choices between food, medicine and medical care," said Hamler-Fugitt.

State officials estimate that nearly 370,000 Ohioans may qualify for Medicaid expansion coverage.

That includes those with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

That's $15,856 for an individual and $32,499 for a family of four.

"If we get your application in and processed you could have access to Medicaid starting on January 1," said Hamler-Fugitt.