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Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals | Kathy Kliebert, Secretary

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Statewide Initiatives



211 - Get Connected. Get Answers.

BAYOU HEALTH Newsletter 1.20.2012

Friday, January 20, 2012  |  Contact: Bayou Health (225) 342-7878

BAYOU HEALTH Hotline Extends Hours, Adds Saturday Call Times to Accommodate Recipients Faster

Last week, the BAYOU HEALTH enrollment hotline, 1-855-BAYOU-4U (1-855-229-6848), experienced the highest call volumes to date as recipients called to speak with enrollment specialists about selecting a Health Plan for their families.

To respond to the increased demand, DHH and MAXIMUS, the company the State has contracted with to handle the enrollment process for recipients, are working together to extend hotline hours, add Saturday call hours, train additional specialists and further streamline the choice process. 

Beginning this week, MAXIMUS extended the hotline hours, making enrollment specialists available from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. on weekdays to assist recipients. Previously, agents were available from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on weekdays. MAXIMUS also added Saturday call times, so recipients can call 1-855-BAYOU-4U from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturdays to reach an enrollment agent.

In addition to expanded customer contact center hours, MAXIMUS is in the process of adding more enrollment agents to prepare for higher call volumes as enrollment gets under way in the second and third regions of the state to phase in. All eligible Medicaid and LaCHIP recipients will be transitioned to BAYOU HEALTH by June 1.

Besides calling 1-855-BAYOU-4U to speak with an enrollment agent, recipients have four other options to select their Health Plan:

  1. Use the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system through 1-855-BAYOU-4U and follow the automated cues to enroll in a Health Plan at any time of the day or night
  2. Go online to BAYOUHEALTH.com to enroll
  3. Attend a "Choose Health" event. Medicaid staff and outreach organizations have scheduled numerous interactive events to give participants a chance to speak with staff in person and learn about their available options and what they need to consider when selecting a Health Plan for their families. See the outreach events calendar to find an activity close to you.
  4. Complete the BAYOU HEALTH enrollment forms that were mailed in the packets from the BAYOU HEALTH Enrollment Center. Postage-paid envelopes are provided in the packets so recipients can mail back their Health Plan selections.

Interactive Provider Search Tool Now Available on BAYOUHEALTH.COM

Medicaid staff have worked with the Health Plans,  MAXIMUS, the BAYOU HEALTH enrollment broker, and Molina, the fiscal intermediary, to create an electronic provider search tool that will allow recipients to see which BAYOU HEALTH Plans their providers have enrolled in so they can use this information to pick a Plan for their families. MAXIMUS has made the Provider Search Tool available on the enrollment website, www.bayouhealth.com, so recipients can search directly to see which Health Plans their providers will participate in.

With the Interactive Search Tool, recipients can search for a specific provider, or can search by clinic name or group practice name. When searching, enter 11 or fewer characters in the field to search by last name.

The Provider Search Tool will also allow enrollment agents to assist recipients faster when they call 1-855-BAYOU-4U to select their Health Plans. Many recipients calling the hotline want to know what Plans their providers are in before they select a Health Plan, and the interactive tool will allow hotline staff to locate this information quickly to share with the recipients. 

At this point, it is very important for providers to verify their information in the Provider Search Tool, looking at the information listed for the parish where they are located, the BAYOU HEALTH Plans with which they have contracted and physical address of their practices. If any of the information listed is incorrect, providers should contact the Health Plan(s) immediately to request corrections, and also submit corrections via email to DHH at mary.johnson@la.gov.As recipients in the first GSA are making their selections and the next two GSAs will begin enrollment shortly, it is very important that providers' information is accurate to ensure continuity of care for patients currently linked to that practice.

DHH is making ongoing enhancements to the enrollment website, and will continue updating provider information as enrollment progresses.

Auto-Enrollment Begins for Recipients in GSA A

This week, MAXIMUS staff began enrolling eligible Medicaid recipients in the New Orleans and Northshore areas who have not yet selected a Health Plan. These areas comprise GSA A, which will be the first area of the state to transition to BAYOU HEALTH on Feb. 1. All eligible Medicaid recipients will be enrolled in a BAYOU HEALTH Plan before the Feb. 1 go-live date to begin receiving care in this model. Auto assignments will take into account the recipient's traditional provider.

If recipients are automatically enrolled in a Health Plan, they will receive a letter notifying them of the Plan to which they are assigned, including information about the services and benefits available through that Plan. Recipients have 90 days from the date of their Confirmation Letter to contact the BAYOU HEALTH staff and select another Health Plan. After 90 days, they will not be able to change plans unless they have a good reason for doing so.

Auto-enrollment does not end recipients' ability to choose their own Health Plans. If recipients do not feel the Health Plan they are auto-enrolled in is a good fit for their family, they can call 1-855-BAYOU-4U and have an enrollment agent assist them in finding the plan that is a good fit.

All areas of the state will transition to BAYOU HEALTH by June 1. Following this initial implementation, BAYOU HEALTH members will have an annual opportunity to change Health Plans. Recipients can change their Health Plans at any time-even after the 90 days have ended-if  they have a good reason to do so.

Enrollment Continues Increasing for BAYOU HEALTH Plans

This week, BAYOU HEALTH passed the 50,000 mark for Medicaid recipients in the first enrollment area who proactively selected a Health Plan for their families. Before auto-enrollment began on Thursday, which will significantly increase the number of eligible Medicaid recipients assigned to Health Plans, nearly 54,000 recipients had selected their own Health Plans. The enrollment broker began auto-enrolling members into Health Plans on Thursday if they had not yet selected a Health Plan.

Medicaid and LaCHIP recipients can call 1-855-BAYOU-4U (1-855-229-6848) with questions related to BAYOU HEALTH. Enrollment agents are available through the hotline to assist with questions about the five BAYOU HEALTH Plans, benefits and more in English or Spanish. The agents can also assist recipients with enrolling in one of the BAYOU HEALTH plans. Recipients can also enroll online at www.bayouhealth.com or using the automated voice system through 1-855-BAYOU-4U. Enrollment agents are also taking enrollment directly to recipients, hosting a series of events in different areas to let people know about their Health Plan options. See the calendar to find an enrollment event close to you.

Update for Providers: DHH Will Continue Daily Medicaid Provider Q&A Calls Addressing BAYOU HEALTH Implementation

The Department of Health & Hospitals will resume its series of daily provider conference calls on Monday, Jan. 23. These calls take place from noon until 1 p.m. each day, and are open to all provider types on a first-come, first-served basis until all available lines are filled. Providers do not need to register in advance to participate.

The call-in line for each day is 1-888-278-0296. The access code is #7299088. Providers can use this information to call in at noon on weekdays if they wish to participate.

Medicaid staff directly involved with BAYOU HEALTH will be on the calls to answer your questions. The Medicaid staff will give a brief introduction and implementation update, but the bulk of each conference call will be devoted to provider questions and answers.

As these calls continue, Medicaid staff will begin compiling questions and answers addressed on the calls and posting them online to share with other providers who may have similar questions. These will be updated on an ongoing basis to reflect current information for providers.

Update for Recipients: Who Is NOT Part of BAYOU HEALTH? 

Nearly 900,000 of Louisiana's 1.2 million Medicaid recipients will transition to BAYOU HEALTH for their health care service delivery. But, other groups of Medicaid recipients will remain in the current fee-for-service model:

If you are:

  • A resident of a long-term care or developmental disability facility
  • A Medicare dual eligible
  • A Louisiana Health Insurance Premium Payment (LaHIPP) recipient
  • A child under age 19 enrolled in the LaCHIP Affordable Plan
  • A recipient of Medicaid only for family planning services
  • A recipient of Medicaid only for primary care services through the GNOCHC waiver
  • Medicaid recipients under age 21 who are on the Request for Services Registry for New Opportunities Waiver (NOW) or receiving services through the NOW waiver
  • Medicaid recipients on waiver programs through Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities or human services districts/authorities, which could include NOW, Children's Choice, Supports or the Residential Opportunity waivers
  • Medicaid recipients who are on other Medicaid waiver programs operated through the Office of Aging and Adult Services such as the Community Choices (formerly called Elderly and Disabled Adult/EDA waiver) and Adult Day Health Care waivers

You are not included in BAYOU HEALTH. You will continue receiving health care services under the current Medicaid program, just as you do today. As other Medicaid recipients transition to BAYOU HEALTH, you might receive information from your medical provider reminding you to select a Health Plan. This is because providers do not have a way to distinguish between their Medicaid patients who are part of BAYOU HEALTH and those who are not. If you are in any of these categories, please disregard any letters or other information you receive urging you to pick a Health Plan. Nothing is changing for you, and you can continue seeing your Medicaid doctor through the fee-for-service program.

Who Can Choose Between Enrolling in BAYOU HEALTH or Keeping the Medicaid Coverage They Have Now?

If you are:

  • Native American
  • A recipient of Family Opportunities Act
  • Receiving services through Children's Special Health Services
  • A child under age 19 who:
    • Receives SSI
    • Is in foster care
    • Is in juvenile justice custody

You have a choice between enrolling in BAYOU HEALTH or remaining in the current fee-for-service system. If you choose BAYOU HEALTH, you will need to select a Health Plan under which to receive care. Call 1-855-BAYOU-4U or visit www.bayouhealth.com for assistance if you wish to be part of BAYOU HEALTH and want assistance selecting your Health Plan.

The Medicaid recipients who are part of BAYOU HEALTH and required to select a Health Plan are most:

  • Medicaid or LaCHIP recipients under age 19
  • Parents of Medicaid or LaCHIP recipients under age 19
  • Pregnant women (not receiving Louisiana Health Insurance Premium Payment/LaHIPP coverage)
  • People receiving Medicaid because of age, disability or blindness

If you have any questions about BAYOU HEALTH, or want more information about implementation, email bayouhealth@la.gov.

Contact Us

BAYOU HEALTH is the state's new approach to delivering and financing health care for nearly 900,000 Medicaid and LaCHIP recipients. Under BAYOU HEALTH, DHH has contracted with five private Health Plans responsible for coordinating and managing the care of their members to improve health outcomes while controlling costs in the program.

For the latest information about BAYOU HEALTH, please visit www.MakingMedicaidBetter.com or the enrollment website, www.bayouhealth.com. To share your comments or ask questions, email bayouhealth@la.gov. Call toll-free 1-855-BAYOU4U (1-855-229-6848) to speak with an enrollment counselor for assistance in picking a Health Plan.