SAN JOAQUIN: County’s Medi-Cal HMO Gets Healthy Families Contract
Health Plan of San Joaquin, with a membership of 55,000 Medi-Cal patients, last week was selected by the state to be "the main community provider for" the Healthy Families program that is slated to begin July 1, the Stockton Record reports. Terry Mack, head of the plan, said that while as many as 50,000 children in the county may be eligible, "he expects perhaps only a third of that number to be enrolled the first year." County officials estimate low enrollment because "lower-income families are typically harder to reach and sign up for governmental programs, and the sign-up process involves a 40-page packet that could prove daunting."
More On The County Program
Health Plan will offer the subsidized coverage at $4 or $6 per child per month, depending on income. In addition, the plan "will offer a 24-hour health care advice line, free transportation and services to all seven hospitals in San Joaquin County." Mack "said 80% to 90% of Health Plan's network of 130 primary care physicians and 500 specialists have already signed up to participate." The Record notes that six other HMOs around the state received Healthy Families contracts last week, "but their premiums will be $3 higher per child" (see related story in today's issue). Mack noted that Healthy Families "represents the biggest expansion of health care since Medicare was created in 1965," in that it will be available to 580,000 children statewide (Spence, 4/17).