Health insurance such as AmeriHealth Caritas in Philadelphia reached out to their 2 million Medicaid members by paying for their medical costs. That’s the way it goes, but this insurer went on to go the extra mile by providing for the GED preparation needs of their members.
One of their beneficiaries is Emilia Ford who hails from Brookhaven. Emilia got pregnant at the age of 15 and dropped out of high school after giving birth to her baby. Although she held down various jobs in the past decade, she had always wanted to obtain her GED to show that her academic capabilities are at par with high school graduates. Emilia worked as a housekeeper and as a crew of her relative’s retail store.
Considering that she earned a meager income, Ford had to struggle to make ends meet. She had to care for the needs of her child and pay for her GED tutorials, with each of the tests costing $20. It came as good news when an unexpected source cropped up that would help Ford pay for her GED test prep tutorials, and that is her Medicaid health plan.
With the facilitation of AmeriHealth Caritas, Emilia was able to get connected to a non-profit group that provides GED test prep classes. Part of the perk that she was able to avail of our telephone coaching and payment for her GED testing fees as well.
AmeriHealth Caritas has incorporated their GED test prep benefit in 2013. From that time on, there had been 62 members who earned their GED certificate, including Emilia, with the help of this program.
Emilia, who is now 25 years old commented that she couldn’t believe that her health insurance would do such a thing. She was under the notion that health insurers only pay for medical costs.
But that is no longer the case because Medicaid health plans are starting to incorporate non-traditional benefits that improve the health of their members and reduce their medical costs. These include housing, transportation, meals and other forms of assistance.
Efforts that have been instigated by state Medicaid programs gave way to these changes. Financial incentives are now incorporated to control spending. So instead of paying a specific amount of fee every month to cover for their members’ health costs, various states have recently implemented policies that allow health plans to gain savings. Insurers are thus motivated to cater to other factors, such as poor housing and literacy which in the long run aggravate health costs.
According to Jill Rosenthal, the senior program director of the National Academy for State Health Policy, “Health plans now have incentives for them to find the root cause of problems that will reduce costs that will benefit the plan, its beneficiaries, and the states”.
Paul Tufano, CEO of AmeriHealth Caritas cited that people with lower or inadequate educational levels have the tendency to be in poorer health. Their company helping members to obtain their GED can impact their lives consequentially by allowing them to live the lives that they want.
Emilia Ford was able to get hold of coaching from AmericaHealth for the sign-up process of her GED classes. She was also assisted with registering for her tests and receiving calls twice a week to keep her studying motivation. Child care was part of the program, too, along with transportation services to her prep classes and exam venues. Emilia took two classes per week starting May 2017 and finally received her GED certificate last summer.
Following her graduation, AmericaHealth hired Emilia as an intern in their member services department, until she was given a full-time position as a GED coach for their Medicaid members in December 2017. Her employment includes health benefits.
With the help of AmericaHealth, Ford said that she was saved from the trouble that she was going through, and her family was truly proud of her achievement. In 2018, Emilia was able to assist 12 Medicaid members to pass their GED tests and is currently coaching a total of 30 more aspirants.