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Medicaid workshops set to educate beneficiaries

The Mississippi Division of Medicaid (DOM) has scheduled educational workshops to be held this fall around the state to help Medicaid beneficiaries get the most out of the services they qualify for, as well as to promote the overall health of Mississippians.

Between Oct. 26 and Dec. 8, DOM’s Office of Client Relations (OCR), with assistance from the Office of Coordinated Care, will host ten workshops at key locations in Mississippi ranging from Southaven to Gulfport. Beneficiary education workshops are held every year, though the times and dates vary, as does the content based on changes that may have taken effect within the agency.

Coinciding with the workshops is open enrollment, which is currently underway for Medicaid beneficiaries enrolled in DOM’s managed-care program, the Mississippi Coordinated Access Network (MississippiCAN), as well as the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The workshops will help inform beneficiaries enrolled in MississippiCAN about how to join one of the two plans offered in managed care: Magnolia Health and UnitedHealthcare Community Plan.

“The workshops are aimed at educating all Medicaid beneficiaries, but we especially want to reach those who are in the managed-care plans so that they can learn about the enrollment process and the covered services of each plan,” said Dinne Ensley, director of OCR. “Representatives from both the plans will be attending and presenting in the workshops, so that beneficiaries will have that face-to-face contact with each plan.”

Locations for the workshops were determined based on which counties have the highest populations of Medicaid beneficiaries.

Charlotte McNair, an Operations Management Analyst with Coordinated Care, is among the DOM employees who will be presenting at the workshops. She says in addition to detailing services and benefits, they will focus on what beneficiaries need to know and what they need to do.  For example: It’s important for beneficiaries to make sure their mailing addresses are up-to-date with their regional office and the plans.

Also, McNair anticipates dispelling some myths beneficiaries may have heard.  “For example, we want them to know that managed care will not cost them,” she said. “In the past I feel like some beneficiaries at some point thought there was a cost for our MississippiCAN program.”

McNair said they will make sure the beneficiaries have received the documents and instructions needed for the open enrollment period, which is Oct. 1 through Dec. 15. The workshops will also include door-prize giveaways and refreshments.

Ensley said the overarching message of the workshops is encouraging beneficiaries to take an active role in managing their health.

“By taking advantage of Medicaid’s covered services; going to their doctors’ appointments, making sure their children are going to their free health screenings, the beneficiaries will see the benefits of preventive health care,” Ensley said. “Preventative health care results in a healthier population of people who are not seeking their primary care at an emergency room and not requiring more expensive medical interventions. And the first step is raising that awareness and instilling healthy habits.”