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Health care

Ohio creates new program for dual eligible Medicaid and Medicare recipients

(Plain Press, February 2014) The five counties in the Greater Cleveland Metropolitan Area will be among 29 demonstration counties in the State of Ohio that will participate MyCareOhio, a new managed care program for Ohioans 18 years and older who receive both Medicaid and Medicare benefits.

Speaking at the January 11th meeting of Northern Ohioans for Budget Legislation Equality (NOBLE), Deborah Nebel of Linking Employment Abilities and Potential (LEAP), said dual eligible Medicaid and Medicare consumers in this area will be given a choice of one of three managed care plans: Buckeye Community Health, CareSource and United Health Care.

Nebel says that beginning in February, consumers will have the opportunity to sign up voluntarily to one of the three plans. She said notices would be sent out in March to those who haven’t signed up yet, outlining the choices. In April, those who haven’t signed up will be assigned one to one of the three managed care companies. Nebel says, there are roughly 33,000 people in the five-county region that are dual eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. She says about half are under age sixty-five and half are over age sixty-five.

The three managed care plans may offer different services to attract consumers, says Nebel. For example, she said one may offer more comprehensive dental coverage, and another may provide transportation to health care appointments. She urged those eligible to research the program that best fits their needs.

Consumers will also have a chance to be involved in the governance and oversight of the managed care plans, said Nebel. She said this opportunity for involvement is the result of an agreement between the State of Ohio and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Nebel says she and Semanthie Brooks of the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging have been working with the Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio to organize a coalition to promote consumer involvement in MyCareOhio. She urged members of NOBLE and other low income advocacy groups, whom are dual eligible for Medicaid and Medicare, to consider becoming involved in the Ohio Consumer Voice Coalition as a consumer advocates working to help MyCareOhio “realize the promise of better coordinated care and services.”

Those interested in serving on the Ohio Consumer Voice Coalition to monitor the new program should call Deborah Nebel of LEAP at 696-2716, or Semanthie Brooks of the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging at 791-8000.

For more information on how to sign up for MyCareOhio, call the Ohio Medicaid Consumer Hotline at (800) 324-8680, Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or visit online at www.ohiomh.com.

Editor’s Note: Since the NOBLE meeting on January 11th, new information regarding the MyCare Ohio program has been released. The project has been pushed back one month.   Consumers can select their plan beginning March 1st, 2014; instead of February 1st. Plans are effective for coverage on May 1st, 2014.

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