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The number of Ohio kids enrolled in benefit programs like Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has dropped. 

Private insurance companies in Ohio are now required to cover doctor visits over the phone or on the computer.

The recently approved state budget includes a provision requiring insurance companies to cover remote doctor visits called telemedicine.

Gov. Mike DeWine (R) signed the two-year budget bill July 18. Authorization of telehelath coverage is just one of the many state programs the sweeping $69 billion document covers.

Shawn Rohlin holds his daughter, Madeline, who found out she had hearing loss and needed hearing aids. Her mom, Nadia Greenhalgh-Stanley, says discovering hearing aids for children was considered a cosmetic device was shocking.
Andy Chow / Ohio Public Radio

Democratic lawmakers are trying to pass a bill that would require health insurance companies provide coverage for children’s hearing aids. Hearing aids, which advocates say can help their children learn and develop, is currently treated as a cosmetic device by many plans.

Workers with a steady paycheck already know that wages have been stubbornly slow to rise. Meanwhile, those who get health insurance through a job have seen their deductibles shoot up. In fact, says Noam Levey, a health care reporter for the Los Angeles Times, deductibles have, on average, quadrupled over the last dozen years. As a result, even some people who have health insurance are having trouble affording medical care.

When Sgt. Anna Lange moved with her young family from Columbus, Ga., to the state's more rural Houston County, her main priority was being able to stay near her son.

After five years of marriage — and many more years of internal turmoil — Lange had realized that despite being assigned male at birth, she'd felt female her entire life.

She had decided to undergo gender transition and knew it would eventually end her marriage. She also knew her soon-to-be ex-wife would want to move back home to Houston County, an hour and a half's drive from Columbus.

Sen. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) speaks at a November 2018 press conference on her bill to reform step therapy.
Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

A  bill in the Ohio Senate doesn’t ban so-called "step therapy," but would allow for exemptions such as if medication causes an allergy or if the patient has already tried the treatment and it didn’t work.

A bipartisan bill dealing with how insurance companies deny certain treatments and drugs until other options are tried first is getting a final push in this lame duck session. And there’s a lawmaker who’s joining in on this effort – but as a patient.

It's time for consumers who buy their own health insurance to start shopping for policies for next year. Open enrollment for Affordable Care Act coverage starts Thursday across most of the country.

But the shopping and buying experience will vary widely, depending on where people live.

In California, for example, where political leaders have always been supportive of the Affordable Care Act, legislators have allocated $100 million for outreach.

Alban Gonzalez / Flickr

When Matthew Timion needed to get his son treatment for mental illness, he did not anticipate it would be so hard to get the insurance company to pay for it.

The Trump administration said Saturday that it is temporarily halting billions of dollars of payments designed to help insurers meet the Affordable Care Act requirement that they provide coverage regardless of whether a person is healthy or sick.

Ohio Governor John Kasich speaks during the Ohio State of the State address in the Fritsche Theater at Otterbein University in Westerville, Tuesday, March 6, 2018.
Paul Vernon / Associated Press

Gov. John Kasich says Ohio should be doing everything it can to defend the Affordable Care Act's requirement of health care coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. This once again positions Kasich against President Donald Trump, who has said his administration will not fight for the law.

Adam / Wikipedia

Attorney General Mike DeWine’s insurer task force on opioid reduction has released a set of 15 recommendations, but the list sticks to broad concepts rather than digging into specifics.

Vision Care Lags, With Blind Spots In Insurance Coverage

May 15, 2018

Every day, a school bus drops off as many as 45 children at a community eye clinic on Chicago's South Side. Many of the kids were referred to the clinic after failing vision screenings at their public schools.

Clinicians and students from the Illinois College of Optometry give the children comprehensive eye exams, which feature refraction tests to determine a correct prescription for eyeglasses and dilation of their pupils to examine their eyes, including the optic nerve and retina.

During his final State of the State address, Gov. John Kasich said Ohio is the strongest it’s been in a generation. But a coalition of unions and health and human services organizations say they think they have the data to prove that’s not true.

The bill passed by Congress late Thursday to keep most of the federal government funded for another month also provided a temporary reprieve to a number of health programs in danger of running out of money, most notably the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP.

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