Posts Tagged ‘michigan medicaid eligibility’
Aug 12th, 2010 | by
On behalf of the 844,000 Medicaid consumers we serve, we thank you, Congress, for extending $16 billion in enhanced Medicaid funding to assist states who are experiencing the worst budget shortfalls in history. Our government did what’s right and necessary for people who are desperate for help today.
Nearly 3.3 million more people were enrolled in Medicaid in June 2009 when compared to June 2008 (based on Kaiser Commission on Medicaid) and states are financially strapped – three-fifths of them have expressed a critical need for assistance with its Medicaid programs. Plus, many families continue to feel the burden of the Great Recession as demonstrated by the U.S. unemployment rate of 9.7% (June 2010). It is our obligation as a country that believes in providing opportunity for all to take care of those that need help. And that’s what Congress did this week by a vote of 247 to 161.
Again, thank you, Congress for leading our nation out of the Great Recession.
Aug 2nd, 2010 | by
In this tumultuous and uncertain political year, some things are very clear. State budgets are facing serious deficits. For millions of Americans, the Great Recession is not over. We see it firsthand here at CareSource. In fact, as the nation’s second largest Medicaid health plan, we know there are 844,000 CareSource members who are faced with the realities of the economic downturn each day. Subsequently, this has increased the demand for Medicaid and other important services families need to survive. Simply put, Washington must do more to address the devastating impact of these tough economic times.
Every day, we see the consequences of high unemployment in our states. With more people out of work, more families are relying on Medicaid to provide essential medical care. Any delays may force families who are already struggling to maintain basic necessities to forgo the health care coverage they fundamentally deserve and more importantly – the coverage they desperately need.
Yet efforts in Congress to approve a six-month extension of higher federal Medicaid assistance to the states are being blocked. Instead of voting as if the economy is strong, Congress should take the pressure off states by passing this temporary extension now. Otherwise we could see drastic cuts in health care for the most vulnerable, education, and other critical services. These cuts will only delay the day that we will see the economy actually recover.
Apr 20th, 2010 | by
The passing of health care reform means a lot of good things for underserved populations throughout our country – most notably, an increase in both Medicaid eligibility and Medicaid reimbursement rates for primary care providers in the next few years.
But with every up side – our most vulnerable population being taken care of as an upside in this case – there is always a downside. And unfortunately, providers see the increase in Medicaid eligibility as potentially having a downside impact on their businesses. It’s not because doctors don’t want to help those that can’t afford care. Doctors have consistently absorbed the costs of seeing economically-challenged patients, whether the patient is on Medicaid or not. The downside, to put it bluntly, is about reimbursement rates.
The Downside Dissected
Currently, doctors simply do not get reimbursed as much for services rendered to a Medicaid patient. State Medicaid programs, out of fiscal necessity, have negotiated lower rates with providers and hospitals than commercial insurance plans offer because of the scarce resources available to fund public health programs. And as a Medicaid managed care plan, we aren’t in a position to provide the same level of reimbursement to doctors that commercial plans can offer because our revenue is based on the Medicaid fee schedule. We already allocate over 90 percent of our revenue to medical care and keep our administrative costs around five percent and it still only pays providers about 85 percent what Medicare pays.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways for Medicaid managed care plans to help doctors see the value in dealing with Medicaid patients and plans. Some states embrace Medicaid managed care over fee-for-service because Medicaid plans have the flexibility to create services and programs specifically designed to help doctors better engage with his or her Medicaid patients– something fee-for-service simply can’t accomplish.
At CareSource, we have been working closely with our provider networks in Ohio and Michigan to reduce administrative barriers and bring the added-value services providers need to better engage with our members. And paying over 95% of our clean claims quickly is a key focus because we recognize that providers rely on us to keep their doors open.
But we have introduced other programs too…
Health Care Home – A Pilot Program on the Rise
We are piloting a program called Health Care Home. This program truly bridges the gap between the patient, the practice, and the health plan. We offer a unique set of services to assist the practice, the patient and their family. For example, we assign a case manager to work with each practice, sharing data, clinical information, immediate access to after-hours nurse triage information, and assistance with office resources. We can assist physicians by identifying areas of need and cooperatively enhance practice capabilities. Health Care Home also allows for outcome-based reimbursements beyond negotiated Medicaid reimbursements to incent providers to prioritize Medicaid patients.
Putting Technology to Work
In addition, we have created similar online administrative tools to those that commercial plans offer to their provider networks. This includes online preauthorization forms, online claims submission and tracking. Unlike commercial plans, we initiated the availability of online member profiles. The CareSource Member Profiles give providers a detailed medical history of their CareSource patients – a typically elusive piece of information since Medicaid patients tend to access the health care system in spontaneous and unpredictable ways.
A Resource for Your Patients During Off Hours
We also have in-house 24-hour nurse and triage call centers that have been URAC Accredited for our members. This benefits providers because obviously their offices are not open 24-hours a day. “CareSource 24” – as we call it – provides a resource for members who face medical issues when their primary care provider’s office is closed. The goal is to provide comprehensive and coordinated services, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our focus is to make sure services are available whenever they are needed.
Combating the ‘No Show’ Issue
Because Medicaid plans work with many families who may not have access to reliable transportation, we offer transportation as a covered service. Providers can take more comfort in knowing that their Medicaid patients will have a greater likelihood of showing up for appointments because plans like CareSource offer this benefit in a way that is more accessible to its members than the fee-for-service system. A simple call to our member services line puts them in touch with our transportation vendor. In addition, CareSource case managers provide direct education to members about the importance of keeping their appointments and the impact no-shows have on a doctor’s office. Another way to break down barriers that preclude access and make a provider’s job a little easier.
Growing in the New Era of Health Care
The important point to this article is this – Medicaid will always guarantee providers some form of reimbursement for the medically necessary services they render to eligible members. But plans like ours prioritize the development of resources that help providers in ways that don’t cost them more money and potentially save them administrative costs – online tools, call centers, integrated support services like case management, transportation…these are the services that, when absent, can make serving Medicaid patients more expensive for a provider. But programs like these are at the foundation of our business as we continue to grow in this new era of health care.
Providers reading this article – What would make dealing with Medicaid plans like ours more appealing? What can be done to make the relationship better given the constraints of reimbursement levels?
Apr 1st, 2010 | by
It’s that time of year again. Census time. Yes, this year we have to take 10 minutes out of our busy schedules and answer 10 easy questions… and we’re done – for 10 years! Simple questions that determine how $400 Billion – yes, that’s BILLION -get distributed to each state.
During the 2000 Census collection, over 70% of Americans sent their surveys back as instructed. But many surveys had to be completed with the help of U.S. Census workers who traveled door to door canvassing the streets to find individuals who just couldn’t find the time to make this a priority. And why shouldn’t they just wait for a knock on the door?
Get this: For each percentage point we can raise the response rate, the feds reportedly will save about $85 million on door-to-door workers. Isn’t that reason enough?
But the population that traditionally struggles to complete their Census forms is the people we serve each day here at CareSource. Why? Because this population tends to be transient – not typically staying at one residence for any prolonged period of time. They also may not have an official address, or they may be homeless, or they live in a communal living situation. Whatever the case, during this census period, it’s extremely important that we get the people in our underserved communities counted.
That’s why CareSource is joining the national effort to reach out to our members to reinforce the importance of completing their census form. Our 820,000+ members qualify for Medicaid coverage and have income below 200 percent of the poverty level. Because the deadline is quickly approaching, we are posting information to our Web site as a reminder for both members and our vast provider network (22,000+ providers, 210 hospitals). We’re also adding a hold message on our customer service line (pending state approval) to encourage our members to “Be Counted” and why it’s so important.
But we didn’t stop there. As a large employer, we have also encouraged our 900 employees to complete their census forms and have reiterated why it’s so important for a publicly funded, not-for-profit company like CareSource to support this national endeavor. Recurring messages will be sent to employees to provide constant reminders prior to the April 15th deadline.
According the NAACP and the federal government, here is why it is so important to get everyone counted – especially families struggling with poverty:
- Federal Funds: For each 100 people not counted, a community risks losing an estimated $1.2 million over the next decade for federally funded programs including: Medicaid, public housing assistance, child health programs, Head Start, transit programs, and more.
- Political Representation: States use census numbers to redraw all political boundaries and determine which states gain or lose representation, including Congressional Districts, state house and senate districts for city councils, school committees and county board.
- Public Infrastructure: All levels of government rely on census numbers to locate vital public works like schools, health centers, public transportation, highways, and affordable housing.
- Private Investment: Businesses large and small use census numbers to identify new markets, select sites for operations, make investment decisions and determine the goods and services offered.
When families do not participate in the census, it means their communities lose access to money, resources and power. On behalf of our country’s underserved communities, please encourage the families and organizations you interact with to complete and return their census form. It’s easier than ever. The 2010 Census form asks 10 questions and takes about 10 minutes to complete. But the key is – IT MUST BE MAILED BACK TO BE COUNTED. Simply mail it back using the postage-paid return envelope by April 15, 2010. Telephone assistance in filling out the form is also available by simply calling 1-866-872-6868.
For those who do not respond, census workers will visit households that do not return forms to take the count in person. But don’t forget – the higher the participation rate, the cheaper the census will cost taxpayers. Just think – if we increase the rate of response from 70 to 80 percent, that’s an estimated $850 million in savings!
It’s easy. It’s important. It’s safe. For more information about the 2010 Census and the “Take 10″ initiative, visit www.2010census.gov.
Mar 23rd, 2010 | by
On behalf of the 15 million Americans who will be eligible for Medicaid as a result of health care reform…we thank you.
On behalf of the children that need health care to support every possible opportunity for a successful and productive life…we thank you.
On behalf of Americans who must choose between buying food and getting health care…we thank you.
On behalf of the senior citizens who are wondering how to maintain their health on a modest budget…we thank you.
Despite the contentious year-long debate, Congress has done what’s right for the American people. Making health care a right – not a privilege – is a fundamental element that has been sorely missing from the ideals of our nation…until now!
Was this the best possible outcome? Probably not.
Does the new legislation fix every problem that ails the current health care system? No, not really.
But it is definitely a start. We elected our leadership to do what is best for the American people given the challenges our country is currently facing. Right now, what is best has arrived in the form of a new and improved health care system that will turn away no one; that will take care of our children; and most importantly, that is in reach to all Americans.
- Expansion of Medicaid to everyone (under age 65) below 133% of the Federal Poverty Level by 2014– removing categorical eligibility which currently forces many individuals in poverty to go uninsured.
- Creation of state-based health exchanges through which individuals can purchase coverage, with premium and cost-sharing credits available to individuals and families with incomes between 133 percent and 400 percent of the poverty level, or $14,404 to $43,320 for individuals and $29,326 to $88,200 for a family of four.
- An individual mandate for all to ensure all Americans participate in the insurance risk pool resulting in lower cost coverage options for all. Requires insurers to cover those with pre-existing conditions, removes lifetime limits, prohibits rescission of coverage and mandates prevention services be covered at 100 percent.
- Equalization of treatment of managed care and fee-for-service under the Medicaid drug rebate program.
- Closure of the Medicare prescription drug “doughnut hole” by 2020.
- Reauthorization of the Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan program.
- Improved coordination for Medicare and Medicaid dual-eligibles.
Each of these provisions propels our country into a new era in health care for which we should embrace and build upon. There are many that vow to fight the passing of this bill, and that’s to be expected. But we should applaud all of our policymakers for remembering why and how this nation was created…to be a land of opportunity, of freedom, and of equality. Thank you, Congress, for doing what’s right for all people.
Article Tagscongress • cost of health care • drug rebate program • Federal Poverty Leve • fee-for-service • health care costs • health care exchange • health care reform • health insurance • individual mandate • managed care • Medicaid • Medicare • Medicare Advantage • michigan medicaid eligibility • ohio medicaid eligibility • poverty level • state based health exchanges
Mar 8th, 2010 | by
I read an interesting opinion piece today by Rep. Joe Baca (D-California) in the Huffington Post. He brings up an issue that he feels hasn’t been addressed enough in the health care reform debate – “emergency care in many of our nation’s hospitals is in bad shape, and doctors and patients are paying the price.” The article goes on to explain that hospitals are in bad shape because of their requirement to provide emergency care for any and all people whether they have insurance or not. He cites the unfortunate fact that over 70 hospitals in his state have closed down due to financial pressures.
His solution: “adequately reimburse for the mandated emergency services they provide.”
This is certainly a solution, and probably a fair one at that – hospitals should be reimbursed appropriately for the services and care they provide. But part of the reason why the financials of our hospital’s emergency rooms are an issue is due to how they are being used. Too many people use emergency rooms as a primary care facility – seeking medical care for the flu or a sore throat or a minor fever.
This is a behavioral issue, not necessarily a money issue. We as an industry need to do a better job in educating people on how to responsibly engage the health care system. This is particularly important for the underserved population that accepts publicly funded health coverage. As a Medicaid managed care company, we believe this is a significant part of our role since many of our members are faced with poverty and typically access health care when and where it is most convenient. It’s why we assign case managers to our members. It’s why we look closely at ER utilization rates to identify opportunities to reach out to our members and educate them on appropriate usage. It’s why we have a 24-hour nurse line devoted to helping our members determine if their medical condition is a true emergency. It’s why we provide value-added services to our members like transportation to doctor appointments.
But providing these services must be balanced with patient accountability and sufficient access to primary care providers. The entire industry – insurance plans, providers, hospitals, advocacy groups, government – needs to embrace the idea that educating people about proper health care engagement is a critical strategy to lowering costs and increasing quality of care.
We certainly see the prospect of increasing Medicaid eligibility nationwide as a positive step toward helping underserved people access care without sending them to bankruptcy court. But giving people a shiny, new medical card means little without investing in resources which guide people to the appropriate setting – especially those who are more worried about where to get their next meal or how to put off an eviction.
People need to understand the difference between an emergency and non-emergency medical need. People need to understand the potential impact they have on the system when they miss a doctor’s appointment. Or the effect it has on the system when a person decides not to take his/her medication as prescribed.
This needs to become an industry effort. We can keep on throwing money or taking away money from various aspects of the health care system. But when it comes down to it, we need to address the behavioral aspect of users. We need to educate people about how to engage, and we need to find creative ways to do so.
What ideas do you have around how to better educate people about accessing the health care system?
Article Tagsdoctor • emergency care • emergency medical needs • emergency room • ER • ER rates • flu • health care reform • insurance • Joe Baca • managed care • Medicaid • Medicaid managed care • medical • michigan medicaid • michigan medicaid eligibility • Ohio medicaid • ohio medicaid eligibility • patient • primary care facility • provider • sore throat
Oct 9th, 2009 | by
Senate Finance Committee Completes Mark-up; Expected to Vote Out of Committee on Oct. 13
The Senate Finance Committee completed debate on proposed health care legislation at 2:18 am last Friday. The Finance Committee was the last congressional panel to consider a health care reform bill and plans to vote this week after the bill’s final language has been made public and the Congressional Budget Office has provided final cost figures. Democrats hold a 13-10 committee majority which clears the way for the full Senate to begin debating the measure on October 13, 2009.
The panel considered many amendments over a two-week period and voted to reduce or waive fines for people who fail to buy coverage and give states money to help insure low-income Americans.
The legislation, estimated to cost $900 billion over 10 years, mandates that Americans get insurance and provides subsidies to those who need them, creates nonprofit cooperatives to offer an alternative to private insurance companies, and prohibits insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions.
Instead of approving a public option amendment, the finance panel voted 12-11 for a compromise plan offered by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., that would give federal funds to states to negotiate with private managed care plans to buy coverage for people who would not qualify for the Medicaid program. This compromise option would be eligible to people with income between 133-200% FPL. For individuals, that means income between $14,403 annually and $21,660. For families of four, the eligibility would be $29,326 to $44,100.
Individual mandate – Lowering the Penalty & Allowing Exemptions Dismays Insurers
An amendment proposed by Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) was also approved that reduce the penalty for those who fail to comply with an individual insurance mandate to $750 per adult, from $1,900 per family as originally proposed. It also waives the penalties in 2013 and phases them in through 2017. In addition, people who would have to pay more than eight percent of their income to buy insurance would be exempt from the penalties, down from 10 percent.
This amendment is of significant concern to commercial insurers as it could allow 2 million Americans to remain uninsured without contributing to the insurance pool.
Insurers are outraged by the risk involved as they would be required to guarantee coverage for all Americans should the health reform measure pass. A strong individual mandate made this option feasible.
Other notable items:
- By a vote of 13 to 9, the committee approved an amendment by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) that would keep low-income children in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), instead of covering them through the Exchanges. This was a key interest for CareSource as we hope to continue to provide coverage to children who qualify through CHIP in Ohio and Michigan.
- Physician groups were upset to find out that the hospital industry is exempt from a crucial cost-cutting measure related to Medicare payments included in Senate Finance Chairman’s mark. Hospitals were held exempt because they were able to negotiate a $155 billion cost-cutting agreement with Baucus and the White House.
The bill that emerges from Baucus’s panel must be merged with one that passed the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee for debate and vote by the full Senate and eventually reconciled with a House measure.
Across the Capitol, Democratic leaders in the House met privately with moderate members, with liberals, and then with first-termers as they struggled to achieve a consensus on legislation to bring to the floor. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced it would probably be at least two more weeks before House legislation was ready.