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Changes to Husky Health Programs Will Be Addressed

By Wayne Jebian
Latinos who are receiving insurance benefits through the state’s Husky Health and Charter Oak programs might be missing out on all the coverage available to them, especially in the wake of changes made earlier this year.
That’s the genesis behind a series of forums being held across the state for the remainder of August. Officials of the insurance plan want to ensure complete coverage is being offered now to avoid more costly treatments down the road.
Husky Health is the State of Connecticut’s public health coverage program for eligible children, parents, relative caregivers, senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, adults without children, and pregnant women. Children up to age 19 may qualify regardless of family income level.
The Husky Health program offers a full health benefit package. Husky Health pays for doctor visits, prescriptions, vision and dental care, and much more. For most families and individuals, Husky Health coverage is free or low-cost. Even families with high incomes can get Husky Health benefits for children at an unsubsidized group rate.
The Charter Oak program provides health coverage for uninsured adults from age 19 through 64 of all incomes – from young people just out of school to early retirees. It offers the same wide coverage as Husky Health.
As of Jan. 1, Husky members are no longer enrolled in a health plan or in Husky Primary Care. Medical services for all Husky members is now coordinated directly by the new Husky Health program. Also, the new Husky Health program includes Medicaid for adults in the programs known as fee-for-service or Title 19 (Medicaid for the Aged/Blind/Disabled and Medicaid for Low-Income Adults).
Community Health Network, the organization administering the Husky and Charter Oak plans, makes efforts to reach out to members and address issues that arise from patients calls to its help center and visits to the plan’s websites. Sometimes, though, it finds it more effective to go to its customers.
Public meetings often provide supplemental assistance to patients looking for the right health care options and providers. In the past, some attendees have shown up with immediate medical concerns that on-site representatives have worked to address; other participants have brought questions, and still others have shown up to praise the services they have received through the Husky/Charter Oak call center.
Linda Pierce, director of member services at Community Health Network, recalls one visitor who showed up to relay her thanks to the call center representative who had successfully helped her secure an appointment for an urgent service, even when the member’s physician had been unable to do so.  She pointed out there’s a positive effect on the organization and its workers when they receive such reminders of the profound difference they make in the outcome for the patient. This is one of the many ways that patient feedback can be valuable.
Often, patients who are having less success in navigating the health care system show up to the meetings to bring their cases to the attention of officials. Said Pierce, “One success story I am most proud of concerns a member who experienced very serious injuries after an accident. The member was new to the program and attended a forum.
“This member was concerned that none of his current doctors participated in the CT Medical Assistance program. We spoke with him after the forum, and our Member Services Escalation Unit has been in touch with him ever since. We have successfully transitioned him to new providers when needed, helped coordinate getting records from previous providers to new providers, helped one of his providers enroll in the CMAP network, found community resources for this member to help increase his independence, educated him on his benefits, and we gave him a place to call whenever he encounters a bump in the road accessing care. We’re truly proud of that.”
For those who show up to these meetings looking for information, the community forums begin with a presentation and have a question and answer session at the end. “Some people prefer not to wait, so we sometimes take questions throughout the presentation,” says Pierce. “We let people know that if anyone is uncomfortable asking questions in front of a group, we will stay after the meeting to address questions and concerns on a one-on-one basis. Members who are unable to stay can let us know they want us to call them by completing that information on the member evaluation form. In addition, we provide a copy of the presentation to all the participants (available in English and Spanish).  The presentation also includes our contact information.”

  • Anyone interested in applying for Husky Health services can call 1-877-CT-HUSKY (1-877-284-8759) 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday though Friday, or visit the website at www.huskyhealth.com.
  • Inquiries about Charter Oak Health plan can be made at 1-877-77-CT-OAK (1-877-772-8625) or www.charteroakhealthplan.com.
  • To register for one of the upcoming member forums listed below, call 1-888-786-2345 or visit the Husky of Charter Oak Websites.

 
Forum Schedule
Aug. 15
5:30-6:30 P.M.
Three Rivers Community College, Room F-117
574 New London Turnpike, Norwich
Aug. 16
9:00-10:00 A.M.
The Village South: Center for Community Life
331 Wethersfield Avenue, Hartford
Aug. 16
5:30-6:30 P.M.
The Village South: Center for Community Life
331 Wethersfield Avenue, Hartford
Aug. 22
10:00-11:00 A.M.
Danbury City Hall
155 Deer Hill Ave. Conference Room 3C
Aug. 22
5:30-6:3:30 P.M.
Danbury City Hall
155 Deer Hill Ave. Conference Room 3C
Aug. 28
10:00-11:00 A.M.
Harborview Towers
376 E. Washington Avenue, Bridgeport
Aug. 28
5:30-6:30 P.M.
Fireside Apartments
730 Palisade Avenue, Bridgeport

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