$380,000 Awarded to Boost Medicaid Enrollment
WESTERN SAN JUANS – The Tri-County Health Network, a Telluride-based nonprofit organization that helps San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose county residents gain access to health care, was awarded a two-year, $380,000 federal grant to boost enrollment in Medicaid and Child Health Plus Plans, CHP+, a state-funded insurance program for Colorado’s uninsured children and pregnant women.
Operating on a $1 million annual budget largely comprised of grants and donations, the Tri-County Health Network is utilizing the new grant money to support its Insurance Assistance program, which helps residents across the region sign up for Medicaid and, in particular, getting children signed up for CHP+ coverage.
“Through this grant, we hired six additional enrollment navigators which are located in Telluride, the West End, Montrose proper, Olathe proper, Delta County and Ouray County and Ridgway,” said Stacey Wright, Tri-County programs manager.
Tri-County Health Network uses its enrollment navigators to help residents across the Tri-County area learn about their eligibility for Medicaid and CHP+, as well as provide assistance with completing application paperwork, which is one of the largest challenge residents have, said Wright.
“The paperwork to enroll in federal health benefits can be complicated to say the least,” she said. “The idea of the Insurance Assistance program is to remove these sorts of barriers. The enrollment process can be very intimidating especially for those who are not computer savvy, and health coverage terms are often confusing. But our navigators are here to help anyone who wants to enroll get their information in order to apply online.”
Enrollment navigators are never more than a phone call or visit away, said Wright. While the Tri-County Health Network Insurance Assistance program has helped enrolled more than 1,200 individuals into Medicaid/CHP+ to date, the focus of this grant is to increase the enrollment of children who are eligible but not enrolled in CHP+ or Medicaid.
Tri-County hopes to decrease the number of children who are eligible but not enrolled in these entitlement programs by 35 percent over the next two years.
Using 2012 Census data, Tri-County has pinpointed roughly 1,610 children under 18 who are eligible but not enrolled in Medicaid/CHP+.
“We’re hoping to enroll upwards of 565 children over the course of the grant, and retain 80 percent of the children currently enrolled,” said Wright, adding that 670 children per year will be retained.
Tri-County is working with school districts across the counties to educate parents about Medicaid and CHP+ eligibility requirements and the enrollment assistance the nonprofit offers.
“We also want to tell parents that if their child is eligible and/or already receives reduced-price lunches, they’re already eligible for entitlement insurance,” said Wright.
Many of Tri-County’s Enrollment Navigators are bilingual, and hope to serve both English and Spanish-speaking residents.
“While the grant focus is enrolling children, with Medicaid expansion beginning Jan. 1, we will assist Anyone interested in coverage,” said Wright.
To learn more about the Tri-County Health Network or locate an enrollment navigator in your area, visit www.thcnetwork.org, or call 970/708-7096.