Healthcare in Louisiana traditionally ranks at or near the bottom out of all 50 states. That is one reason the Department of Health and Hospitals is rolling out a new way of providing Medicaid.
Shannon Ramirez is a working, single mom of two kids and says without Medicaid, it would be tough to afford healthcare. "That helps with the expense of insurance and medicines and doctor visits," said Ramirez.
Ramirez is not alone. There are more than one million people in Louisiana receiving Medicaid and all of these recipients are about to face a big decision when it comes to their own health. Greg Ivey is the business manager at The Pediatric Centers in Sulphur and Lake Charles. He says, "The change is going to be that the patient with the parent is now going to have five selections, five options to choose from."
Ivey is working with Medicaid patients to make sure they know the deadline is June 1st to pick the best health plan or the state will pick it for them. "You could potentially be in a network that your primary care provider is not in and have difficulty getting in to see that provider, because they don't accept that insurance," said Ivey.
The new line of services through Louisiana's Medicaid system is called BAYOU HEALTH. Five different plans are offered through the coordinated care networks. Some are based on a network of health providers, while the others are based on primary care providers.
Ramirez picked the plan based off her children's primary care doctor and enrolled one over the phone - and the other online. "They were both equally fairly easy," said Ramirez.
With a deadline to secure her family's future healthcare only two months away, Ramirez says she is glad she took care of it early. "I think it would probably be a little more hectic if you waited to the last minute to register your children," said Ramirez, "so I think it's better if you go ahead and start now."
If you are a Medicaid or LaCHIP recipient, these changes apply to you. For a link to the BAYOU HEALTH website, click here. If you have questions about the changes, call 1-855-BAYOU4U.