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Rural Health Information Hub

Scenic Bluffs Community Health Center Insurance Help Team

Summary 
  • Need: To help inform western Wisconsin residents about their health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Intervention: Certified application counselors provide assistance in outreach locations around the region.
  • Results: In the past year, more than 1,000 people received guidance on health insurance through this program, with 253 individuals enrolling in health insurance.

Description

Scenic Bluffs CHC logoScenic Bluffs Community Health Centers is an independent, non-profit healthcare provider serving western Wisconsin. As a Community Health Center, Scenic Bluffs not only provides healthcare within their doors, but also focuses on reducing health barriers throughout the communities they serve. They offer a wide range of primary care and complementary therapies, as well as support services to assist and guide people with their day-to-day needs.

In order to help people in their service area learn how to get coverage and understand the health insurance options available under the Affordable Care Act, Scenic Bluffs offers a coordinated health insurance outreach and enrollment program.

Services offered

The health center employs Patient Access Coordinators, known as their Help Team, that can help remove barriers to care. The Help Team guides individuals through locating, understanding, and obtaining healthcare benefits, insurance, transportation needs and prescription drug programs. They can also provide information on area food pantries, thrift stores, community care applications, and other local agencies. Additionally, the team has Certified Application Counselors (CACs) that can screen for eligibility in various assistance programs and help you enroll in health insurance through The Marketplace (Affordable Care Act) or BadgerCare Plus (Wisconsin Medicaid/Forward Health). Help Team services are available in Cashton and Norwalk, or by phone. Help Team Services are free and available to everyone, regardless of whether they are a patient of Scenic Bluffs.

Results

In 2021, Scenic Bluff's CAC enrolled 253 individuals in health insurance. These free services are available for patients and community members. Help Team staff assisted more than 1,000 people with various enabling service needs.

Challenges

Those interested in starting a similar outreach program may want to consider these lessons learned:

  • The program had minimal success with enrollment events at computer labs. Near the end of the enrollment period, these had better turnouts, but early on, there was little interest.
  • Scenic Bluffs tried placing informational booths with staff around the community at off-hours, primarily at school sporting events. Not many people approached with questions at these venues.
  • Retrieving lost usernames and passwords can be difficult because Marketplace does not give that information over the phone.
  • Procrastination to enroll will always be a problem. Early promotion should be a priority to help people get signed up on time.

Replication

Rural providers who want to help people find out about health insurance options should:

  • Gather information to become educated enough to identify people who should be accessing the Health Insurance Marketplace or Medicaid.
  • Be prepared to provide the information to patients.
  • Know where people can access a CAC and refer to that CAC.
  • Reach out to a local health center to inquire if they employ a CAC. Consider partnering and request their help at your healthcare site.

Topics
Benefit enrollment and application
Federally Qualified Health Centers
Health insurance

States served
Wisconsin

Date added
May 22, 2014

Date updated or reviewed
October 13, 2022

Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub, 2022. Scenic Bluffs Community Health Center Insurance Help Team [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at: https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/project-examples/752 [Accessed 30 May 2023]


Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.