St. Mary’s Health in Evansville is offering application assistance appointments for insurance through HIP 2.0. “We’ve really been pleased with the volume of applications thus far,” said Stacy Woodall, community health access advocate with St. Mary’s Health. “In addition to our enrollment team, our hospital staff is well equipped to meet with patients and answer their questions. Whether they work in the emergency room or deal with outpatient procedures, our staff is eager to assist in any way they can.”
According to Woodall, patients tend to be most concerned about the cost of their POWER account contribution, co-pays they will be responsible for and which doctors they will be eligible to visit under each plan.
Generally, three key groups of individuals are applying for the new program:
“Based on how things are going, we’re hoping to enroll about 2,500 people within a year’s time,” said Woodall.
For health centers like Meridian Health Services in Muncie, a significant advantage of the new HIP 2.0 plan is the inclusion of case management services.
“Many of our clients didn’t have access to coverage for case management services like independent living support,” said Sara Hall, enrollment specialist with Meridian Health Services. “These patients needed help with a variety of tasks ranging from how to cook a meal to how to apply for a job. There’s nothing worse than telling someone ‘I can’t help you.’”
Meridian Health Services is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) providing behavioral and physical health services at 15 locations across the state. According to Hall, Meridian Health Services sent out 600 letters to self-pay clients within the first week HIP 2.0 was approved. They have eight trained navigators in seven counties working around the clock to help Hoosiers enroll. In addition, the health center holds outreach events at local libraries, community organizations, health fairs and faith congregations.
Hall says enrollment specialists across the state are sharing success stories and working together to stream- line the process.
“We were lucky to have the foresight to create a HIP callback list for those who fell into the coverage gap before HIP 2.0 was approved,” said Hall. “That made it pretty easy to call the right people and give them the good news.”
Another hospital system seeing encouraging results is Beacon Health System, in South Bend. Beacon Health System. the parent organization of Elkhart General Hospital and Memorial Hospital of South Bend, employs nearly 40 navigators in northern Indiana to help enroll eligible community members into the new program. According to Patty Gremaux, director of community outreach for Elkhart General Hospital, the health system has seen a definite uptick in the number of applications since the plan was approved. In addition, calls with questions about HIP 2.0 and requests for enrollment assistance are on the rise.
The health system is expecting hundreds of people to seek enrollment assistance as they learn of their coverage eligibility. But, as Gremaux explained, before the applicant is enrolled, Beacon’s key priority is education.
“Advocating for those signing up is our number one job,” said Gremaux. “Something we have found as Indiana Navigators is that those who are new to the health coverage system have challenges understanding the various plans and sometimes complicated insurance industry terminology. This is all new to enrollees and many times is overwhelming and confusing. We want to ensure enrollees understand exactly what their options are so they can make informed decisions.”
It appears as though the HIP Plus option is proving to be popular with applicants.
“We’re finding that the majority of enrollees are willing to pay a little more for the HIP Plus plan in order to receive dental and vision coverage,” added Gremaux. “This trend is very encouraging.”
To date, HIP 2.0 has enrolled more than 100,000 new Hoosiers since it received federal approval in late January.