As the recent Dayton Daily News article (January 26) highlighted, more than 600,000 people were disenrolled from Ohio Medicaid coverage in 2023 as continuous coverage provisions put in place during the pandemic ended. Should families learn they are no longer eligible for Medicaid coverage, there are free resources available to help identify and enroll for new health insurance plans. Get Covered Ohio, led by the Ohio Association of Foodbanks and funded through a cooperative agreement from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, connects Ohioans to unbiased information and free assistance exploring health insurance options and enrolling in health coverage. Navigators that work in tandem with the Get Covered Ohio campaign are certified and licensed. Not only are their services free, but they are required to be completely fair and impartial when helping individuals shop for the best health insurance coverage that suits their needs and budget, with some plans as low as $10 a month through the Marketplace, or Healthcare.gov. If you or someone you know needs support with finding a health insurance plan, schedule an appointment today. Appointments are available in-person, by phone at 833-628-4467 or online at GetCoveredOhio.org, and in multiple languages.
- Grace Wagner, Director of Health Initiatives for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks
A brittle food system, and potential government shutdown were key topics at Second Harvest’s legislative service day.
Second Harvest Food Bank hosted local, state and federal legislators and their staff, in part to highlight the impact funding streams have on the organization’s services.
Two Ohio lawmakers hope to help middle and low-income families with children under 18 with the introduction of the Thriving Families Tax Credit.
Ohio lawmakers are considering a proposal that would implement a statewide refundable child tax credit. Regional food banks say the bill would help more families meet basic needs and reduce strain on local food pantries struggling to meet demand amid persistent inflation.
Sarah Kuhns, advocacy and engagement manager with the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, said eight in 10 Ohioans are relying on food banks because of high prices, and are being forced to choose between groceries and paying for such basic needs as utilities, medication and transportation.
She added tax credits have proved to be effective for helping families reach financial stability.
Looming federal budget deadlines are just a few weeks away, and food banks in Ohio say the risk of reduced funding for nutrition, health care and other assistance programs, could trigger increased demand in 2024.
According to the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, within the past year, eight in 10 clients relied on local pantries for help with groceries because of higher food costs.
Director of Nutrition Policy and Programs with the Ohio Association of Foodbanks Hope Lane-Gavin pointed out that WIC equips new moms and babies with essential items that food banks typically don't carry, including formula.
"That is a huge hole of the food banks," said Lane-Gavin. "We just don't have the infrastructure to support the needs of infants."
The proposals in both the U.S. House and Senate appropriations bills would result in WIC turning away 600,000 eligible new parents and young children, and would slash benefits for nearly five million people nationwide.
Lane-Gavin said WIC is a key prevention strategy for avoiding poor health outcomes among new moms and babies - including pre-term birth, low birth-weight and postpartum distress.