Ohio among states shifting prisoners to Medicaid to save money, reduce recidivism

February 17, 2015

Ohio is among a growing number of states working to enroll prisoners into Medicaid when they get sick and as they are being released. The move could save the state nearly $18 million this year alone in costs of providing healthcare to prisoners - money that would be shifted onto the federal government's tab. Longer term, prison and healthcare officials say it also could help curb the number of repeat offenders as more ex-prisoners gain access to needed mental health services and substance abuse programs, benefits now required to be covered under the ACA. Within the next two months, the managing director of healthcare for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said, he hopes to have a formal enrollment process in place for prisoners as they're released. In Ohio, as many as 95% of the roughly 20,000 prisoners released every year are expected to be eligible for Medicaid. Similar efforts are under way in Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota and Oregon, said the director of HHS for the National Association of Counties.