Over half-a-million people are on Medicare, Medicaid or both here in the Rio Grande Valley; in Cameron County alone, there are about 100-thousand recipients.
New changes will quickly take effect exactly one month from today. The Rio Grande Valley is the last region in the state to make the transition to managed care.
"Now people who receive Medicaid and those who receive Medicare and Medicaid will now have to select from one of five plans," says BCHC Marketing Director, Alix Flores.
The change will allow for the state to control costs and provide more efficient service to recipients.
Previously, any provider who accepted Medicare/ Medicaid would bill the state; now these plans will be handling the bills for the state.
For those on Medicaid, a personal care provider and a health and dental plan must be selected.
Dual eligible Medicare/ Medicaid recipients will only need to choose a health and dental plan and can continue seeing their current personal care provider.
If a recipient does not select a plan by February 10th they will be automatically assigned a plan.
“What could happen if they don't select a plan is that if their specific provider is not enrolled in one of those plans and they pick a plan they might not get the provider they need," says Flores.
Right now of the half-a-million people here in the RGV receiving government coverage, only 30% have enrolled in one of the five programs. The Brownsville Community Health Care Center is urging residents to get this taken care of as soon as possible.
If you need additional help on getting enrolled, an informational event will be held this Saturday, February 4, 2012 from 10am-2pm at the BCHC New Horizon Medical Center. For more information call 621-3618 or 459-9473.