Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey is planning to participate in at least 800 community events in the next year. The strategy was successful this year, when the plan enrolled 170,000 new Medicaid members. “There are all these things people are hearing, and it helps to have face-to-face conversation with people they know,” said Len Kudgis, director of marketing for NJ Health, the plan's Medicaid subsidiary.
New York-based Fidelis Care, which has signed up 100,000 members since last October, will be placing self-serve kiosks in shopping malls. “It's about taking any opportunity we can to educate people,” said Pamela Hassen, chief marketing officer at Fidelis. “Sometimes people are in a rush, and may not have time to sit through a presentation.”
But providers and enrollment groups are worried about the need to re-enroll people who signed up for this year. “One of the concerns as we enter year two is, will we be able to retain all the people that came to our plan last year,” said Geoff Bartsh, vice president of state public programs at Minnesota-based Medica, which has enrolled 30,000 new Medicaid members as of January. “We will need to be extra diligent.”
The re-enrollment issue was highlighted as a major concern in research released by the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, which found that there has been a lack of messaging that beneficiaries need to re-enroll in Medicaid each year. “Many do not know they need to renew to keep their coverage,” according to the report. “This is particularly true of first-time enrollees in Medicaid.”
As of October, 27 states and the District of Columbia had expanded Medicaid to low-income adults with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level, as allowed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Previously, most states had limited Medicaid to pregnant women and children, disabled people and adults with almost no income. Counting both expansion and non-expansion states, nearly 8.7 million people enrolled in Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program between Oct. 1, 2013, and Aug. 31, 2014, increasing total enrollment in the programs by nearly 15%, according to the CMS. Enrollment in states that expanded Medicaid grew by 22%, compared to only 5% in states that did not.