Six Things I learned about Healthcare While Working at the WHP

Editors Note: This post was written by a wonderful summer intern, Madeline Higgins, as a reflection on her work over the summer. Madeline is a student in the MPH program at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and we are sure she will go on to do great things!

I was lucky to intern at the Washtenaw Health Plan this past summer, where I got to observe the services that WHP provides and work with a new program involving Community Health Workers. Meanwhile, the federal government was attempting to greatly reduce the Affordable Care Act, which had the potential to negatively impact the health of residents in Washtenaw County. While I learned many facts, protocols, and systems, the items listed stick out most in my memory.

 

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1. There is a significant gap in understanding of the reality of healthcare and policy impact from federal legislators.

I believe this stems from decision makers finding information that enforces their current worldview instead of looking at fact-based data. While watching and reading about the legislative process for healthcare reform, I was struck by the lack of listening and understanding from both sides of the aisle. While everyone utilized individual stories to demonstrate their points, there was little conversation about population-level health outcomes. After reading reports and statistics which utilized a population health framework, it is obvious to me that overall, the Affordable Care Act has positively impacted health in the US.

 

2. You can work minimum wage full time and not qualify for Medicaid (as a single individual household).

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I learned this towards the end of my time with WHP. I hadn’t done the math before, and it was hard for me to imagine living on the minimum wage in the Ann Arbor area in regards to housing costs, let alone health care. To me, this further demonstrates the need for a livable minimum wage.

 

 

3. Pre-existing condition protections help us all.

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At some point in our lives, we are likely to experience some health setback where we utilize the healthcare system. It is advantageous to us all to include people with pre-existing conditions in the insurance pool because one day that could be us!

 

 

4. Everyone has questions about healthcare- and it is important to find places to get good information.

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The Washtenaw Health Plan is a great place to ask for help! No matter your insurance plan, there seem to be terms and deadlines that won’t make a lot of sense until you ask an expert or seek reliable resources. I also wrote a blog post this past summer about reliable resources regarding health care access, and it totally changed the way that I look for information about health.

 

5. People who do direct service work can (and must) also do policy advocacy.

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Washtenaw County is organized and ready for action! I sat in on many meetings where people were putting their heads together to make sure they had the right information to talk to colleagues, legislators, and their clients about how federal policy change (for example, reduction in SNAP benefits) is detrimental to our community. This is vital to both keeping their jobs but also elevating the health status of the Washtenaw County population.

 

6. Above all, if healthcare was treated like a human right, the tone of this conversation would be very different.

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People at the WHP recognize that healthcare is more complicated than having access to insurance. Health is about access to nutritious foods, opportunities to relax, space to exercise, and of course the occasional donut from Dom’s. Working in the county government showed the interconnectedness of the systems that comprise of people’s access to health. I believe if we are more inclusive to people’s needs we can work together to improve the health of Washtenaw County.

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Open Enrollment Question: Do I Have To Take My Employer Healthcare Coverage? (Usually, Yes)

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For many employees, Open Enrollment period for employer insurance comes in the fall, and is a short two or four week period where you have to make important decisions about health care for the coming year. This can be a lot of pressure, and so it turns out that a little preparation can go a long way. If you are a new employee at a job, you may be offered insurance right away, or after a period of 90 or 180 days.

Know your options, because if this were a relationship on Facebook, you might say, "It's Complicated!" What follows is a series of questions that will hopefully help you figure it out.

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If you are going to turn down your employer insurance, you want to make sure you are clear about the alternatives. Although it doesn't matter to Medicaid if you have an offer of employer insurance, it does matter if you were hoping to get subsidies on the Marketplace. Don't turn down your offer of coverage without studying your options!

1. Does your employer coverage meet Minimum Essential Coverage guidelines?

This would mean the the employer coverage covers:

  • Ambulatory patient services(Appointments and procedures in a doctor's office);
  • Emergency services;
  • Hospitalization;
  • Maternity and newborn care;
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment;
  • Prescription drugs;
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices;
  • Laboratory services;
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management and Pediatric services, including oral and vision care.

If the answer is yes, continue. If the answer is no, consider Marketplace and Medicaid eligibility and enrollment.

BEWARE: Some employers offer very inexpensive medical plans that do not cover hospitalization or emergency services. These do not meet Minimum Essential Coverage guidelines.

 

2. Does your employer coverage meet Minimum Value standards? 

Minimum value standard is a standard of minimum coverage that applies to job-based health plans. If your employer’s plan meets this standard and is considered “affordable,” you won’t be eligible for a premium tax credit if you buy a Marketplace insurance plan instead.

A health plan meets the minimum value standard if both of these apply:

  • It’s designed to pay at least 60% of the total cost of medical services for a standard population
  • Its benefits include substantial coverage of physician and inpatient hospital services

If you are unsure, ask your employer to fill out the Employer Coverage Tool.  

If the answer is yes, continue. If the answer is no, consider Marketplace and Medicaid eligibility and enrollment. 

NOTE: If the answer is no to EITHER the minimum essential coverage or minimum value standard, and you are income-eligible, you should be eligible for advance premium tax credits.

 

3. Is your family income low enough for some or all of your family to qualify for Medicaid?

Look here for the income eligibility tables for Medicaid. If you (or some members of your family) are income-eligible for Medicaid, you can apply for Medicaid instead of or in addition to your employer coverage. Because the income cutoffs for children are higher than for adults, often children can be enrolled in Medicaid or MIChild while the parents enroll in employer coverage. You can also have both Medicaid and your employer insurance--Medicaid will pay co-pays and deductibles not covered by your employer coverage, and this can be useful if you have a high-deductible plan. 

 

4. What is the cost of your insurance, relative to your income? 

To figure this out, look at the lowest-cost plan your employer is offering that meets the minimum standards (see #1 and #2 above), and the cost for the health coverage for the employee alone. 

Example 1: The cost is $100/month for the employee alone, and the employee makes $1000/month. $100/$1000=10% of income.

Example 2: The cost is $100/month for the employee alone, and the employee makes $2000/month. $100/$2000=5% of income.

Generally, if the cost is more than 8% of family income but less than 9.69% of family income, you are exempt from having to take the insurance, but you are not eligible to get advance premium tax credits on the Marketplace. [You may, however, be eligible for Medicaid!]

If the cost is more than 9.69% of family income, you don't have to take your employer insurance, but you can buy on the Marketplace and qualify for advance premium tax credits.

 

5. What about the rest of the family?  The Family Glitch

The Affordable Care Act looks primarily at affordability for the employee only. Different people in a family can get covered in different ways. 

If the cost of insurance for the employee is affordable, and the cost for the rest of the family is not affordable, you fall into what is called the "family glitch." The rest of the family is probably not going to be eligible for subsidized plans on the Marketplace. At this point, help from someone familiar with insurance options can be a big help. You may very well be able to get an exemption on your taxes from having to pay a fine, but that doesn't help with getting health care. On the other hand, other family members may get covered differently. Possibilities may include: 

Thanks to healthinsurance.org for the image.

Thanks to healthinsurance.org for the image.

Don't forget: in many cases, different people in a family are covered in different ways. For example, each parent may be covered by his/her own employer, and the children may be covered by MIChild.

 

6. What if employer coverage gets offered or dropped in the middle of the year?

Changes in employer coverage in the middle of the year create Special Enrollment Period opportunities. If employer coverage is offered, you should evaluate it. If you have Medicaid and will continue to qualify for Medicaid, you may not want to take it. If you have a Marketplace plan and the employer coverage meets minimum standards, you may need to take the employer coverage because you will no longer be eligible for APTCs. If you take it and have a Marketplace plan, make sure to let the Marketplace know!

If you lose employer coverage during the middle of the year, you may be eligible for Marketplace or Medicaid plans. The Special Enrollment Period on the Marketplace after you lose employer insurance is good for 60 days. Medicaid is open year-round.

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If you have questions, call or walk in to the WHP office.

Washtenaw Health Plan, where We Help PeoplE like you!

Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm

555 Towner, Ypsilanti, MI 48198

 

resources

Employer Coverage Tool:  Use this tool to gather answers about any employer health coverage that you’re eligible for (even if it’s from another person’s job, like a parent or spouse). You’ll need this information to complete your Marketplace application. Complete one tool for each employer that offers health coverage that you’re eligible for.

Healthcare.gov: Apply here for Marketplace insurance. 

MiBridges: Apply here for Medicaid insurance. 

HealthSherpa:  Use this tool to compare health plans. 

 

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2017 Medicare Open Enrollment Runs October 15 through December 7

Medicare is a program for people who are 65 or older and people with disabilities. You can read more about Medicare here. If you have Medicare now, then...

It's time to review your Medicare Plan!  

October 15, 2017 to December 7, 2017 is the annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period. During Open Enrollment you may:

  • Change from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to original Medicare
  • Switch Medicare Advantage plans
  • Join a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan
  • Switch Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans

 

review your coverage--especially Part D and Medicare Advantage Plans--every year!

Premiums, co-pays and the drugs covered can change from year-to-year, even within the same plan.  Your current plan should send you an "Annual Notice of Change" before Open Enrollment that outlines any changes for the next year.  Medicare Part D plans are sold and managed by private companies and vary greatly in terms of monthly premiums, annual deductibles, drugs covered and prescription prices.  

Insurers tweak Medicare Advantage Plans every year, and those changes could mean that you can't see your favorite doctor or you might need to pay more. 

So--review, review, review!

MMAP Counselors Are There For You--For Free!

Every state has people who will help you figure out your Medicare options. In Michigan, these people--paid staff, and volunteers--work with the Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program. In Michigan, you can find your local MMAP program here. Nationally, the SHIP (State Health Insurance Assistance Program) can help you find assistance locally. 

MMAP Counselors can help explain how Medigap and Medicare Advantage programs work, and can help you sift through your options for Part D plans. They can help you figure out if you can defer taking Medicare because you are still working. They can help you figure out if you qualify for extra help!

Some People Qualify For Extra Help

If your income is low, you may qualify for extra help. For instance, the Medicare Savings Program may help you pay your Medicare premium, or you may qualify for Medicaid and Medicare which together will cover all your health care costs. To qualify for the Medicare Savings Program you must be low-income and not have many assets.  For married couples, your combined income must be less than $1847/month and you must have less than $11,090 in assets (excluding a house and car).  For single people, your income must be less than $1376 and you must have less than $7390 in assets.  

If you think you may qualify for Extra Help, talk to a MMAP (Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program) counselor. 

Just MMAP It!

Washtenaw County is in a MMAP region that includes Livingston, Monroe, Macomb, St. Clair and Oakland counties. There are multiple ways to meet with MMAP counselors and MMAP and the Area Agency on Aging 1B have multiple events scheduled for Open Enrollment.  Call 1-800-803-7174 to schedule an appointment.  Call now because availability is limited!

Events in SE Michigan including Washtenaw, Livingston, Monroe, Macomb, St. Clair and Oakland.  

Washtenaw County Events and Partner sites with in-person appointments available.

Livingston County Events and Partner sites with in-person appointments available.

Monroe County Events and Partner sites with in-person appointments available.

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Mental Health Needs? Health Insurance Has You Covered

Sometimes you may feel blue.  Sometimes the mood lifts and sometimes it just lingers on and on.  You might try talking with a friend, going for a walk. But it seems that no matter what you do, the blues continue.  At these times, you might feel that no one understands or worse, that no one cares.  You may feel that you are all alone.  

If you are feeling hopeless or you are with someone who is feeling suicidal, call 911, go to the Emergency Room or go to a Psychiatric Emergency Room immediately. Additional resources that are available 24/7: nationally, call  1-800-273-TALK (8255), text Hello to 741741, or in Washtenaw County, call 734-544-3050.

Under the current health care system, mental health is part of the essential health benefits that all health insurance must cover.  If you currently have insurance, you have a mental health benefit of at least 20 visits per year.  With this benefit, you can see a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker or therapist as long as they are part of your health care network.  

As of October 1, 2017, Michigan Medicaid lifted the 20 visit cap on Mental Health visits.  You are now able to see any provider that accepts Medicaid or a Medicaid Health Plan for as long as needed.  An official notice is here  

Mental Health Affects Physical Health 

Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health conditions.  Some people have chronic mental health conditions, but many people may have temporary conditions that are treatable and preventable.  

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Depression is a sad or blue mood that lasts for more than two weeks and affects a person's ability to work, carry out usual daily activities and have meaningful personal relationships. Symptoms of depression that need treatment include at least two of the following; lack of energy and tiredness, unusually sad mood, loss of enjoyment and interest in activities, sleeping difficulties, concentration and decision making problems, feeling worthless or guilty, thinking about death or dying, loss of interest in food or eating too much.  Depression is treatable.

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Anxiety can vary from mild uneasiness to a terrifying panic attack.  Treatment is necessary if a person becomes unable to work, carry out usual daily activities and have meaningful relationships. Symptoms can be:

  • physical - pounding heart, sweating, stomach pain, shaking
  • psychological - mind racing, irritability, sleep disturbances
  • behavioral - situation avoidance, phobic behavior, obsessive or compulsive behavior

Anxiety is treatable.

Suicide is on the rise.  At any time if anyone is feeling hopeless or talking of suicide, call 911.  Washtenaw County officers have special training for mental health emergencies.  Tell the 911 operator that your emergency is mental health related and they will send trained officers.  

Here are some good tips, if someone you are close to is feeling suicidal.

HOW CAN YOU GET HELP?  HERE ARE 4 OPTIONS:

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  1. Make an appointment with your Primary Care Physician (PCP) or regular doctor. Your regular doctor can prescribe anti-depressants, talk about lifestyle choices and refer you for further treatment.  Many PCPs now use a depression or mental screening questionnaire that helps determine next steps.
  2. Search for psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists or counselors that accept your insurance.  You may find that information on the insurer's website or by calling them and asking for nearby therapists.  For Medicaid health plans, contact your Medicaid health plan.  The number is on the back of your card or search your provider's website.  
  3. Find a support group.  Some support groups are free. If there is a cost, you may want to check with your insurer to make sure you are seeing someone in your network. 
  4. Find a counselor or community agency.  If you don't have insurance but need attention, there are resources for counseling and help.  Community Mental Health has a crisis team that can be reached by calling 734-544-3050.  

Everyone needs help at some point in their life.  Talk to your doctor and get help. 

If you need help with health insurance, contact the Washtenaw Health Plan.  Call 734-544-3030 or walk-in to our offices at 555 Towner, Ypsilanti, Monday through Friday from 9am-4pm.  

Resources:

Washtenaw Community Mental Health Call Access at 734-544-3050 or 1-800-440-7548 for crisis service, support or information.  Available 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.  

Washtenaw ALIVE Resource List from Suicide Prevention Coalition

Depression Toolkit from University of Michigan Depression Center

National NAMI  and Michigan NAMI

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Washtenaw Health Plan Services for Immigrants

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Here at the WHP we provide confidential services to all people regardless of their immigration status.  We assist individuals and families with any health coverage needs, from identifying eligibility to completing applications.  We help people figure out if they are eligible for Medicaid, MOMS, Emergency Medicaid, Washtenaw Health Plan, or the Marketplace (subsidized insurance under the Affordable Care Act).  WHP even assists individuals whom need help understanding their employer’s insurance options.

To ensure that all individuals and families have access to services and resources at WHP, we have Arabic, French, and Spanish speakers on staff.  In addition, we have access to a language line that provides real-time interpretation services for anyone who prefers to receive information in their native language.  Our language line services assist us in helping families in understanding documents, and gives families the confidence to ask the questions they need answered. The language line can assist with over 240 different languages.

WHP staff (and Public Health staff) have access to interpreter services for Acholi to Zyphe from Language Line Solutions.  

WHP staff (and Public Health staff) have access to interpreter services for Acholi to Zyphe from Language Line Solutions.  

In addition to helping individuals and families identifying what health coverage they are eligible for, WHP can provide families with referrals and resources to address additional needs that go beyond health. We refer families to agencies throughout Washtenaw County. Some of our referrals include: Catholic Social ServicesJewish Family Services and Hope Clinic.

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With the current immigration climate, we are aware that many individuals and families need the necessary resources to feel safe in their community. WHP provides families with Know Your Rights information, including updated lists of attorneys helping community members with immigration questions and community organizations that advocate for immigrants such as the Washtenaw County ID Project and Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights (WICIR).  WHP can now notarize Power of Attorney forms and translate foreign driver’s licenses.

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In May 2017, the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners approved funding and resolutions to aid immigrants regardless of citizenship or immigration status. One of the resolutions includes Washtenaw County being a welcoming community, respecting and cooperating with all families.  Another resolution specifies that Washtenaw County policy is to only ask about immigration services for specific purposes, allowing people to feel safe when interacting with the county government. Lastly, having a policy in place to aid in restricting deportation and provide more appropriate immigration sanctions for immigrants and non-citizens who have been convicted of crimes.  As Washtenaw County employees, we support these resolutions everyday in our work. 

The Washtenaw Health Plan is dedicated to helping people access and receive healthcare regardless of their immigration status.  All WHP staff recently attended the Welcome Michigan Statewide Convening to discuss supporting and welcoming immigrants across Michigan. 

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-T. South Peterson

Have questions about healthcare?  Call 734-544-3030 or walk-in to our office Monday - Friday from 9am-4pm.  Post a question in the comments section below and we will answer you. 

Healthcare Counts blog posts in Español / Spanish are here.

Information about immigration and healthcare from Healthcare Counts is here.

Washtenaw County Immigration Policy May 2017

Michigan Immigrant Rights Center

National Immigration Law Center

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Fight Repeal and Replace (Graham-Cassidy-Heller)! Support CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program)!

Never let your guard down!  An effort to Repeal and Replace [the Affordable Care Act] has reared its ugly head again, threatening to take away healthcare from millions by ending Medicaid expansion (the Healthy Michigan Plan); raising costs for everyone; eliminating protections for pre-existing conditions; cutting coverage for low income seniors, children and the disabled; and attacking women's health and family planning.  

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The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will not have time to fully score this bill before September 30th, 2017, and so there are not as many details about the costs and implications of this bill as there would be otherwise. However, the CBO has rated similar bills, and under those bills, 15 million people would lose Medicaid alone, and 32 million people might lose insurance. The Graham-Cassidy-Heller bill also privileges rural states over urban/suburban states, and Michigan is a clear loser. Large cuts to funding begin in 2020 but accelerate over time. Follow this twitter thread for a lot of details.

Under this bill, there would be huge premium increases for people with pre-existing conditions

Compare the bill to the ACA using the Kaiser Family Foundation comparisons web site.

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But What About MIChild?

The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides coverage to children who do not qualify for Medicaid but whose families cannot otherwise afford health insurance, is also under attack.  In Michigan, CHIP is the MIChild program. CHIP funding is set to expire on September 30, 2017. Although there is, in principle, bipartisan agreement on extending the CHIP program, including MIChild, this agreement is being set aside while the Senate focuses on the Graham-Cassidy-Heller bill.

This piece from the Georgetown Center for Children and Families does a good job explaining the conflict between the two efforts. As Kelly Whitener writes,

For example, it would not be possible to have a good faith negotiation on extending CHIP funding (which covers 9 million children) while there is a live debate on gutting Medicaid (which covers 37 million children). This is not simply a matter of Congress learning to multi-task – you simply cannot work toward two totally different goals simultaneously.

Without CHIP renewal, MIChild will end when the state's reserve runs out (likely, early spring of 2018). This puts the health of over 40,000 of Michigan's children at risk. 

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Building Immigrant Friendly Communities: Welcoming Michigan and Welcoming America Celebrate Welcoming Week

September 15-24, 2017

Welcoming Week began in Michigan with a Welcome Michigan Statewide Convening on Friday, September 15, 2017 at Washtenaw Community College in Ypsilanti, MI.  Participants from all over the state came together to continue work making Michigan a welcoming state for all immigrants.  Highlights include the keynote speaker, Tracy Keza, discussing her photographic work, Hijabs and Hoodies, and workshops addressing legal issues, responding to bias and hate crimes, advocacy and community engagement.  

Washtenaw County government, as well as the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, are committed to being welcoming to immigrants. Recently the Washtenaw County commissioners have committed funding and resources to supporting immigrants. Read more here.The City of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County join other Michigan municipal governments that have signed on as a “welcoming city,” including Detroit, Lansing, Kalamazoo and Macomb County.       

Agencies and community organizations across Michigan have many events planned as part of Welcoming Week.  Here are some highlights:

Michigan-wide events

Local events:

Welcoming Week events hosted throughout Washtenaw County (September 15-24):

  • Fri., 9/15: Welcoming Michigan Symposium showcasing municipal initiatives across Michigan, Washtenaw Community College, Morris Lawrence Building (8:30am-4pm)
  • Sat., 9/16: International Dance Day, Riverside Park, Ypsilanti
  • Sun., 9/17: Many Faiths One Voice: Prayers for Unity, West Park Band Shell, Ann Arbor 
  • Sun., 9/17: Community Resource Fair, Ann Arbor YMCA
  • Fri. & Sat. 9/22 & 9/23: Futsal Tournament, Ann Arbor YMCA. Futsai is an informal five-on-five soccer game bringing together people of different ethnic, racial, and national origins. 
  • Sun., 9/24: International Family Festival and Potluck Celebration, Pinckney 

Follow Welcoming Michigan on twitter and facebook to find out more about what's happening in our state.   

Welcoming Michigan is part of Welcoming America, which leads a movement of inclusive communities becoming more prosperous by making everyone feel like they belong. Welcoming America believe that all people, including immigrants, are valued contributors who are vital to the success of our communities and shared future.  

See our Immigrant Info page to read more about immigrants and healthcare.  

Organizations and Resources 

The Michigan Immigrant Rights Center has lots of resources and information. If you or someone you know needs help with an immigration issue, they may be able to help you or refer you to someone who can help you. Right now, they have a lot of information about the ending of the DACA program.

The National Immigration Law Center also has many resources and a lot of information on their website.

 

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Medicaid Covers Hearing Aids

Most Medicaid Plans Cover Hearing Aids

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Your hearing is important and you can get hearing exams if you have Medicaid Healthy Michigan Plan,  Healthy Kids, MIChild, or Traditional Medicaid. Some Medicaid plans do not cover people over age 21.   People age 21 and over should check with their individual health plans.  There could also be a small copayment for people 21 years of age or more.

 

What does Medicaid Cover?

  • Medicaid covers both routine and comprehensive hearing exams to diagnose and treat diseases of the ear and also tests to determine the need for hearing aids or alternative listening devices (ALDs).
  • Medicaid covers hearing aids (once every 5 years), fittings, cords, tubing, connectors, oscillators, receivers, and huggies. 
  • Medicaid covers alternative listening devices (ALDs) for people 21 years of age or more (once every 3 years).
  • Medicaid covers Cochlear Implants for all ages.
    • Infants to 23 months of age with a hearing loss of at least 90 db.
    • 2 years and older with a hearing loss of at least 70 db.
  • Medicaid covers delivery, adjustments, and modifications of hearing aids within a 24 month period.  The manufacturer’s warranty must cover a 90 day trial period in which the hearing aid can be exchanged or returned if the user is not satisfied.
  • Medicaid also covers battery and ear mold replacements, maintenance, and repairs.

 

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What to Expect at a Hearing Exam

Your primary care physician will start by asking questions about you and your family's medical history, and hearing problems that you are having.  In most cases your primary care physician will complete the first routine hearing exam and, if necessary, refer you to an otolaryngologist or an otologist. Prior authorizations and medical documentation are required for the coverage of hearing aids. 

A typical hearing test at a specialist's office. 

A typical hearing test at a specialist's office. 

An otolaryngologist is a doctor who specializes in problems of the ears, nose, and throat.  An otologist is a doctor who specializes in problems of the ears, nose, and throat and also in the medical and surgical management of dizziness, hearing loss, and tumors of the ear.  The otolaryngologist or otologist will perform other tests and get medical clearance. For people over 18 years of age the otolaryngologist or the otologist can complete the medical clearance.  The otolaryngologist or otologist then refers you to an audiologist if hearing aids are recommended. 

An audiologist will go over your medical history, perform more tests and prescribe hearing aids, if they are medically necessary. 

 

How to find a hearing care provider

If you or a member of your household are experiencing problems with hearing, contact your Primary Care Physician first.

For a listing of Hearing Care Providers that accept Medicaid please call your individual health plan or by clicking on the web links below and follow the instructions provided.

 

Aetna Better Health Plan

1-866-316-3784 (TTY: 711)

https://www.aetnabetterhealth.com/michigan/find-provider

  • Click on Medicaid, MIChild, Healthy Michigan
  • Enter zip code
  • Click ENT for otolaryngology/otology
  • Click search

 

Blue Cross Complete

1-800-228-8554 (TTY: 711)

http://www.mibluecrosscomplete.com/find-doctor.html

  • For provider type click specialist
  • Enter city and state or county, township
  • Click submit

 

McLaren Health Plan

1-888-327-0671 (TTY: 711)

Traditional/Straight Medicaid http://www.mclarenhealthplan.org/medicaid-member/Find-a-Provider-medicaid.aspx

Medicaid - Healthy Michigan Plan http://www.mclarenhealthplan.org/healthy-michigan-member/Find-a-Provider-medicaid.aspx

  •   Click on specialty type otolaryngology
  •   Click on county add Washtenaw
  •   Enter zip code
  •   Click find

 

Meridian Health Plan

1-888-437-0606 (TTY: 711)

Traditional/Straight Medicaid https://corp.mhplan.com/en/member/michigan/meridianhealthplan/benefits-resources/tools-resources/provider-search/

Medicaid - Healthy Michigan Plan https://corp.mhplan.com/en/member/michigan/healthymichiganplan/benefits-resources/tools-resources/provider-search/

  • Click on more search options
  • Enter zip code
  • Enter results in 10 mile radius
  • Click on specialty type otolaryngology
  • Click search

 

Molina Health Plan

1-888-898-7969 (TTY: 711)

https://providersearch.molinahealthcare.com/Provider/ProviderSearch?

  • For Cover Plan select Medicaid/Healthy MI Plan/MIChild
  • Click search by county
  • Enter state
  • Enter county For coverage type click on Medicaid/Healthy Michigan/MIChild
  • Click on specialist for provider type
  • For the specialty select otolaryngology or pediatric otolaryngology
  • Click search

 

UnitedHealthCare Plan

1-877-892-3995 (TTY: 711)

http://www.americhoice.com/find_doctor/first.jsp?xplan=uhcmi&xtitle=Doctor

  •   Click on specialty type - otolaryngology
  •   Enter Plan Name
  •   Click find doctor

 

No health insurance?

Please click on the link below if you or a member of your household are experiencing problems with hearing and do not have health insurance.  These organizations may be able to provide financial assistance for hearing care and hearing devices.  Check with your local doctor and other agencies that provide assistance in your community. 

Hearing Loss Association of America

http://www.hearingloss.org/content/financial-assistance-programs-foundations

Have a question?  Leave a comment and we will answer you. 

-T. South Peterson

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Why it could be worse (or better) to be sick in some states than others

Where you live could mean the difference between life and death.  

How did Medicaid start? 

Why doesn't the United States have Universal Health Care?  

Who lobbied against socialized medicine when most of the world adopted it?

Why is Medicaid different from one state to the next?

Vox.com made a great video to explain the history of Medicaid and how block grants, expanded Medicaid and legislation have created health care disparities from one state to another.  

What about Michigan? 

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Michigan expanded Medicaid to cover adults under 138% (133% with a 5% disregard) of the poverty level in 2014. In order for Medicaid to be expanded in Michigan, Michigan legislature insisted upon two modifications (aka waivers). The modifications involved cost sharing:  people have to pay small co-pays and premium-type payments for their Medicaid.  (Read more here: Paying for Medicaid: Co-pays and Contributions.)  

Expanded Medicaid or as it is called in Michigan, the Healthy Michigan Plan, has helped millions of people become healthier.  People have gained access to care, boosted the economy, and received mental health and substance use abuse treatment. 

If you are wondering if you are eligible for Medicaid, call 734-544-3030 or walk-in to our offices from 9am-4pm Monday - Friday. We Help People - Like You! 

 

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WHP Profile / Perfil Personal: Spring Quiñones

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Spring Quiñones is a Bilingual Outreach Worker at the Washtenaw Health Plan (WHP). She primarily focuses on doing outreach to the Latino community to help them understand and obtain health care coverage, working to remove barriers and ensure that the Latino population enjoys equal access to health care services.

Spring Quiñones es una trabajadora de alcance bilingüe para el Washtenaw Health Plan (WHP). Ella se enfoca principalmente en ayudar a la comunidad latina para entender, obtener cobertura de salud, y eliminar barreras que les impiden disfrutar de acceso igual a los servicios de salud.

Prior to her start at WHP, Spring worked with Ann Arbor Public Schools as a Teacher’s Assistant for 6 years, working specifically with children with autism—which she absolutely loved. Spring first joined the WHP in 2013 under a federal grant from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) to work with immigrant and homeless populations, ensuring they had equitable access to healthcare coverage.  Her primary focus was enrolling children and their families from the Latino Community and collaborating with the Education Project for Homeless Youth (EPHY) to make sure that they had Medicaid, MiChild and or the Marketplace. Spring also brings her skills as a Certified Bilingual Medical Interpreter to help facilitate questions around medical issues.

Antes de trabajar en el WHP, Spring trabajo con las escuelas públicas de Ann Arbor como asistente de profesor por 6 años, específicamente ella trabajo con niños con autismo—lo cual fue algo que disfruto mucho. Spring se unió al WHP en 2013 bajo una beca federal de los Centros de Servicios de Medicaid y Medicare (CMS) para trabajar con inmigrantes y personas sin hogar, asegurándose de que ellos tuvieran acceso equitativo a la cobertura de salud. Su objetivo principal era matricular a los niños y sus familias de la comunidad latina y colaborar con el Proyecto de Educación para Jóvenes Sin Hogar para asegurarse de que ellos tuvieran Medicaid, MiChild, o el Mercado de Seguro. Spring también trae sus habilidades como una Intérprete Médica Bilingüe Acreditada para ayudar a facilitar preguntas sobre temas médicos.

Spring’s compassionate nature and dedication to her work is contagious. She goes above and beyond to make sure her clients feel listened to, and her involvement in helping the Latino community does not stop with her work at WHP.

Spring es una persona muy compasiva y dedicada, su pasión por su trabajo es contagiosa. Ella va más allá para asegurarse de que sus clientes se sientan escuchados, y su participación en ayudar a la comunidad latina no termina con su trabajo en WHP.

Spring and Frania at an outreach event for families providing information about healthcare.

Spring and Frania at an outreach event for families providing information about healthcare.

Spring is also involved with the Washtenaw County Spanish Healthcare Outreach Collaborative (SHOC), where she helps facilitate meetings with organizations to discuss issues affecting the Latino community.  This collaboration is a valuable resource for information and network building that helps to eliminate barriers facing the Latino community. Spring emphasizes the importance of practicing cultural humility when engaging and educating the Latino community about issues surrounding health care, recognizing that things such as immigration, language, and culture can have a significant impact on health care delivery and access to health care services. 

Spring también está involucrada con el Spanish Healthcare Outreach Collaborative (SHOC), donde ayuda a facilitar reuniones con organizaciones para discutir cosas que afectan a la comunidad latina. Esta colaboración es un recurso valioso para informar ycrear redes sociales que ayudan eliminar los obstáculos que enfrenta la comunidad latina. Spring enfatiza la importancia de practicar la humildad cultural al participar y educar la comunidad latina sobre asuntos relacionados con la salud, reconociendo que elementos como la inmigración, el lenguaje, y la  cultura pueden tener un impacto significativo en la entrega y acceso a los servicios de salud.

Milo curls up and his markings form a heart.  

Spring has two children, an 18 year old daughter, and a 19 year old son, and a dog named Milo. She is originally from Colombia and previously lived in New York, and has now lived in Ann Arbor for the past 11 years.

Spring tiene dos hijos, una hija de 18 años, un hijo de 19 años, y una mascota llamado Milo. Ella es originalmente de Colombia, vivió previamente en Nueva York, y ha vivido en Ann Arbor por los últimos 11 años.

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