The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

April 4, 2013

Medicaid program: Geisinger Health Plan gains 100,000 members since beginning of March

By Robert Stoneback
The Danville News

DANVILLE — DANVILLE — Geisinger Health Plan has added more than 100,000 members across 22 counties since the beginning of March, when the state rolled out a managed Medicaid product that included Geisinger as one of three providers.

This will allow the insurance branch of Geisinger Health System to provide their well-received brand of care to people who would normally not be able to afford it.

“We want to fundamentally change how care is delivered to the recipients so they get better access and better quality than in an uncoordinated fee-for-service medicine environment,” said Kevin Brennan, Geisinger Health System’s executive vice president for finance and chief financial officer, at the March 27 meeting of the Geisinger Authority board.

The plan offered by Geisinger, called the Geisinger Health Plan Family, is presented as part of the Pennsylvania Medical Assistance HealthChoices program. Families under a certain income level will be able to choose from one of the three plans. Enrollment began in January and February.

“What Geisinger Health Plan has is a lot of health managers and care managers that work with these members who have chronic conditions or may need additional assistance to make sure they’re getting the care they need in the right setting,” said Amy Bowen, spokesperson for Geisinger Health Plan.

As an example of how Geisinger’s service differs from other insurance providers, Bowen said a pregnant woman under the Geisinger Health Plan Family could expect a great deal of prenatal care, such as monitoring glucose levels and persuading the new mother to quit any tobacco products she may be taking.

“What we’re really hoping to see is that we have an impact on premature birth, or getting people to see their primary care doctor instead of going to the emergency room,”

said Bowen. “Essentially what we’ve done is take what we have done so well in our Medicare market … and apply that to this population which generally has not been managed this way.”