Memorial Hospital Creates Program to Help Community Members Navigate Insurance Options

December 04, 2019
Melissa BartlettNORTH CONWAY, NH -- When a patient is admitted to the hospital, the last thing to worry about should be whether or not they have insurance coverage to pay for their care. That’s the premise behind a new Access to Care program now offered at Memorial Hospital and all MaineHealth facilities. The hospital has recently named Melissa Bartlett as the coverage case manager who will help patients navigate the many options available and ensure they are able to access what they need, so they can focus on getting better.

Melissa is already a familiar face at Memorial, having joined them as a patient financial advocate in 2013. In this role she assisted patients with billing questions and other financial issues. But now she has an expanded role that will provide even more resources for community members who have questions about Medicaid, Marketplace Insurance Plans and other financial assistance.

She explained, “I’m here to help uninsured and underinsured people explore what eligibility they qualify for, including programs through NH Medicaid or the Marketplace.”

“I help them fill out forms and submit necessary documents. Some folks don’t have the follow through to get coverage and I’m here to help. It can be overwhelming. I want to help people tackle that piece of the puzzle.”

The program allows the Coverage Case Manager to meet with the patient at the bedside. If they are admitted and do not have insurance coverage, Melissa is notified and is dispatched to Memorial’s inpatient unit to be of service. She shared, “I’m notified by case management of a patient who doesn’t have insurance or may need a long term care facility. I’ll go down and fill out the application with them and submit it. At the same time, I’m reaching out for a free care application or long term payment options that MaineHealth offers that’s income based.”

While much of her time will be spent helping patients who have been admitted to the hospital, she is also available to help patients receiving outpatient services. She gave the recent examples of a patient receiving cancer care in their Oncology Center who reached out for assistance; and pregnant moms-to-be who want coverage for their prenatal care and services from the Family Birthing Center.

Other outpatient services she can support includes the Breast and Cervical Cancer program, which covers free mammogram and pap smears for women who meet income eligibility guidelines. She can also coordinate access to the newly announced MedAccess program which helps patients pay for their prescriptions.

She explained, “My goal is to focus on the coverage needs for each person’s unique healthcare situation.”

Another important duty for the Coverage Case Manager is acting as a Certified Application Counselor to help patients apply for insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplace. Open enrollment for ACA plans is going on now through December 15 with coverage beginning on January 1, 2020.

“Anyone can come to me even if they are not our patient - self-employed, or those not otherwise eligible for coverage through an employer or the state can apply. There are options from Anthem and AmBetter. As a Certified Application Counselor, I can help people review their options. I helped a self-employed individual yesterday and he was able to find a plan and understand what subsidies he might qualify for,” Melissa added.

Melissa has been with Memorial since 2013 and has been helping patients as a financial advocate. This role is a natural transition for her as she can now focus solely on access to coverage.

William Bullock, Memorial’s Revenue Cycle Director added, “MaineHealth has initiated an Access to Care program which assists uninsured and underinsured patients with obtaining coverage. They are placing a resource locally at each affiliate to perform these functions. Melissa Bartlett already does a lot of this work today, but this new role will be a much more focused approach to helping our community members get coverage. Melissa is extremely talented in this niche and this is a great opportunity for her and Memorial Hospital.”

For more information, contact Melissa Bartlett at 603-356-5461 or online at www.memorialhospitalnh.org. For more information on Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment and to view and compare plans and prices by using an estimator tool, visit here: www.healthcare.gov/see-plans.