Indianapolis-based health insurer Anthem Inc. has bulked up its call center on Virginia Avenue to keep up with unexpected customer demand from Indiana’s HIP 2.0 program.
The company has enrolled 184,000 Hoosiers in HIP 2.0 since created the program in 2015 as an expansion of the state’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.
Anthem has increased staffing “pretty substantially” to handle calls and questions from customers and health providers, said Catherine Zito, senior government relations director of Anthem’s Indiana Medicaid operations.
“We did experience some growing pains,” Zito said. “We had to implement the program pretty rapidly, and then take steps to keep up with new members who had been uninsured or under-insured and had a lot of questions.”
The company did not have exact figures available for how many jobs it has added in recent months. But Zito said Anthem has had to add substantially to its customer service, provider relations and information technology functions.
She made her comments Monday during a presentation to national and local health journalists meeting in Indianapolis to discuss the state’s Medicaid expansion. The workshop was organized by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a not-for-profit that studies health issues.
The issue is taking on national prominence as a growing number of states are considering expanding their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act. Some are studying the Indiana model, which requires low-income Hoosiers receiving health insurance coverage to have “skin in the game” by contributing to a health management account.
About 427,000 Hoosiers have enrolled in the program for health insurance as of March 26, said Jim Gavin, spokesman for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.
The current program, which was granted under a waiver by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, will expire at the end of January 2018.
Gov. Eric Holcomb announced earlier this year he wanted to extend the program and is seeking another waiver. If granted, it would extend the program to 2021.
Customers realize they must pay a small monthly amount for coverage, usually just a few dollars, or risk being dropped from the plan, Zito said. Many of them are calling Anthem customer service employees frequently to inquire about services, benefits, costs and even how to find transportation to their doctors’ office, she added.
“It was very encouraging to us,” she said.
Another insurer in HIP 2.0, an Indianapolis not-for-profit called MDwise, reported that it has already enrolled 130,000 customer in the program since the program was launched.
“We’ve really experienced a tremendous amount of success,” said Jason Fricke, senior director of operations.
CareSource Indiana, another not-for-profit insurer, recently began offering HIP 2.0 plans, but is encouraged by the early results. About 30,000 people have signed up for the plan through CareSource, said Caitlin Priest, the company’s government relations director.
“There’s a tsunami of newly eligible, newly engaged people hitting the system,” Priest said.