The Family Health Centers of San Diego (FHCSD) Health Insurance Hotline was initially created to connect patients and consumers to health insurance enrollment assistance during the initial implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). After they were awarded an NCOA Benefits Enrollment Center (BEC) grant, FHCSD discovered that they could leverage the Hotline to also connect with Medicare-eligible individuals that have questions and wish to screened for the five core benefits.

Background on the hotline

The FHCSD established the Health Insurance and Program Eligibility Hotline for uninsured health center patients and members of the community in need of assistance with health insurance or having general questions regarding public assistance programs and/or benefits to call and connect with someone that would be able to answer questions, provide insurance and/or program benefits education, and screen for coverage eligibility. Hotline information is included on flyers that FHCSD posted throughout their community.

The process for callers

When a caller contacts the Insurance Hotline they are connected with a Healthcare Retention Specialist that can answer questions regarding health insurance coverage options, screening for eligibility for public assistance, and help schedule an application assistance appointment with an Enrollment Specialist at any of the clinic sites. The Healthcare Retention Specialist will review the documentation that an individual needs to bring with them to their appointment with the Enrollment Specialist, so that all documentation ready for application submission on the day of the appointment.

What are the results thus far?

The FHCSD Hotline receives an average of 100 calls per day and schedules an average of 50 appointments for the Enrollment Specialist team a day for enrollment assistance services. These figures include calls and appointments scheduled for both Medicare beneficiaries and non-Medicare beneficiaries.

In the first year since they became a BEC, FHCSD has assisted over 1,100 individuals with submitting applications for benefits worth over $5 million.

For more information

Marlene Cuevas
Family Health Centers of San Diego