Program will offer benefits to eligible citizens
A voluntary Special Needs Basic Care program will be available to eligible Wadena County disabled citizens starting Jan. 1. The program will offer benefits to disabled people while addressing the high cost of providing health care to disabled peo...
A voluntary Special Needs Basic Care program will be available to eligible Wadena County disabled citizens starting Jan. 1. The program will offer benefits to disabled people while addressing the high cost of providing health care to disabled people in Minnesota, according to county officials.
The program allows eligible disabled people ages 18-64, to move from fee for service Medical Assistance to a managed care plan such as South Country Health Alliance, Blue Plus or Medica, according to Wadena County Social Services Director Paul Sailer.
"We would hope to see quite a number sign up," he said.
According to Blue Cross literature, criteria for eligibility includes being eligible for Medical Assistance and being certified as disabled or else having mental retardation or a related condition as determined by the local social services department.
The state has identified more than 380 people in Wadena County who are eligible for the program, Sailer said.
Wadena County has contracted with SCHA and Blue Plus to offer care coordinator services for their programs, Sailer said. Medica will consider contracting with the county after doing a test run of the program in the metro area.
The care coordinator is a social worker who will act as a consultant for disabled people helping them with particular problems getting their health care, Sailer said.
The Public Health department will be involved as well and will probably have more contact with the physically disabled, he said. The program also works with those with mental disabilities.
"We'll team ... together to make sure they have the best health care," he said.
Benefits of the program include not having to pay co-pays for prescription medication with MA, up to $500 for safety equipment, 12 visits per year to a podiatrist and no co-pays for emergency room usage or eye glasses.
The program combines Medicare and MA together in order to integrate the benefits of both programs, he said. It includes all Medicare part D and Medicaid drugs as well as primary and acute care services.
"The reason behind this is the cost of health care for elderly and disabled are some of the highest costs the state of Minnesota has," he said.
Some MA costs should be going to Medicare, he said. The state wants the costs to go to Medicare because that is a federal program.
SNBC is starting off as a voluntary program, he said.
"Whether or not it will become mandatory at some point is unclear," he said.
People who are eligible for the program should be receiving direct mailings from the managed care plans, he said. They can choose which plan to participate in.