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Ohio Sees Big Gains in COVID-19 Vaccine Rates Among Medicaid Customers
$100 gift cards and renewed collaboration between health care providers, pharmacies and managed care organizations drive a 49% increase in new vaccinations within past week.
Ohio Sees Big Gains in COVID-19 Vaccine Rates Among Medicaid Customers

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Department of Medicaid today announced COVID-19 vaccination rates are on the rise among Ohioans who are supported by Medicaid. As of Aug. 8, 804,286 individuals with Medicaid in Ohio have been fully vaccinated or had their first shot, with 37,213 Medicaid members initiating vaccination in the last two weeks alone.

“These are promising signs for Ohio,” said Ohio Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran. “When vaccines first became available Governor DeWine prioritized individuals at higher risk of contracting the virus with severe outcomes – many of whom Medicaid serves. In May he challenged Medicaid, our managed care organizations, providers, and pharmacies to do more to increase vaccine rates among Medicaid members. Everyone stepped up.”

With more than 2.3 million Medicaid customers currently meeting the age range for getting the vaccine, the Ohio Medicaid has a continuing role to play to encourage uptake of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Ohio Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs) introduced a series of initiatives to increase vaccine rates including partnering with local health departments, providing gift cards for members, and ensuring transportation was available to and from vaccine sites. Since the beginning of the program in June, the gift card amount has increased to $100.

Ohioans served by Medicaid face greater obstacles in both obtaining COVID-19 vaccines, and in allowing for possible side effects once administered. Many work or provide full-time care for children or aging parents, need assistance with transportation, and don’t have paid sick time off. The gift cards help alleviate those hardships, reducing real-life barriers to accessing lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines.

As signs of the Delta variant grew, the MCOs developed deeper partnerships with pharmacies to distribute gift cards at the point of vaccination. Now, more than 600 pharmacies across the state have gift cards in hand to distribute to people with Medicaid when they get their first shot. Medicaid members who are vaccinated at places without on-site gift cards can receive them through the mail.

“Ohio has seen a 57% increase in Medicaid members 18 and older who have completed vaccination since Governor DeWine urged the MCOs to do more,” said Corcoran. “The managed care organizations have partnered with vaccine providers, such as pharmacies, primary care providers, and local health districts, to make sure they’re all working together to vaccinate people with Medicaid.”

Medicaid vaccine gift cards will continue to be available to eligible Ohioans through Sept. 15. Ohio Medicaid members can visit, www.covidvaxonthespot.com to learn more about incentives available, locate vaccine locations and providers, and learn more about why now is the best time to protect yourself against the COVID-19 virus.

Each of these initiatives is funded through existing managed care quality performance incentives that are part of the annual contracted rate agreements with Medicaid MCOs.