Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Helping Medicaid Enrollees

Assurance Wireless, a federal Lifeline Assistance program operating as part of the Low Income Program of the Universal Service Fund is partnering with OmniCare Health Plan Inc. to enable OmniCare’s enrollees in Michigan learn how the Assurance Wireless program via Sprint can help to provide low-cost cell phone service.

Today more than 417,000 Michigan residents are without a job and more than 24 percent are living below the federal poverty line. The number of Michigan residents eligible for Assurance Wireless has increased by 1.2 million people in the last two years.

The objective is to provide low income eligible residents in Michigan and in a number of other states and the District of Columbia with a free phone plus 250 minutes of free wireless service provided on a monthly basis to eligible low-income customers. The list of states providing the service is continually expanding.

Eligibility for Assurance Wireless varies by states and may include participants in Medicaid Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SSI, TANF, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and the National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch Program. Customers may also qualify based on low household income on a state-by-state basis.

This partnership will enable OmniCare to help their enrollees by strengthening channels of communications with members that will help promote preventive healthcare and provide a means to have regular check-ups with their doctors. OmniCare members will have unlimited access to their primary care physician’s office and to the health plan via voice calls and text messaging without impacting their free minutes.

OmniCare has more than 47,000 members and still growing, a network of more than 2,600 doctors, 37 hospitals, and 47 urgent care centers offers programs for Medicaid and MI Child eligible members in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Kalamazoo, Hillsdale, Cass, and St. Joseph counties.

People who don’t quite qualify for Assurance Wireless but are struggling to stay within a budget can take advantage of “payLo” by Virgin Mobile available at more than 40,000 retail stores. “payLo” offers plans for as little as $20 per month for 400 minutes or 90 days of service for $20 at a rate of less than $7 per month. For more information, go to “payLo” at

“Phone service is essential in nearly every household in the country and even more so when you factor in the need for emergency services,” said Gary Carter, Manager for National Partnerships for Assurance Wireless. “This partnership will allow us to reach more Michigan residents who are eligible for program while at the same time provide a means for OmniCare to promote better healthcare among its members.”

Eligible residents can apply for Assurance Wireless by calling toll free 800-395-2171 or going to Go to for more information on OmniCare’s health plan.