St. Charles Herald-Guide

Health insurance free for people who need it

By Shonna Riggs - June 21, 2007

Tri-Parish Medicaid employees in St. John Parish have been making the rounds in St. Charles Parish placing applications and brochures at barber shops, hair salons, and community events every Saturday in June, to encourage residents to take advantage of free health insurance programs.

The programs include LA CHIP, LA MOMS, the Take Charge Program, and the Medicaid Savings Program.

In order to receive the free health insurance, all applicants must meet the income guidelines.

“Beginning June 9, we started distributing applications in Hahnville, Boutte and Luling and we will continue for the next two weekends,”  Margo Joseph, manager of Tri-Parish Medicaid told the Herald-Guide.

“We place our applications wherever we think large groups of residents would be gathered,  in St. Charles Parish to encourage them to apply for health insurance for themselves and their children,” she continued.

Joseph said Kimberly Boudwin-Foret, the Region III coordinator for St. Charles, St. James and St. John Parishes attended a program in New Orleans  where medicaid workers went to every business and event they could find and distributed applications, once the numbers were crunched, the program proved successful.

“On April 17 through 22 in New Orleans, medicaid workers across the state did what we called an outreach blitz in areas all across New Orleans,” Joseph said. “Kimberly, our Region III director told us how successful it was and we decided to try it out to increase participation in our parishes,” she said.

Joseph said the programs are free but they are income based.
“Income guidelines for all of the Medicaid Programs increase every April 1, that means if you were ineligible last year because you made too much money, with the increase in the income guidelines you might qualify the next year.”

In a Department of Health and Hospitals report conducted by LSU’s Public Policy Research Lab the total number of uninsured residents in Louisiana as of fall 2006 was 657,027.

Of those without insurance, 446,645 people earned below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. 

The report also found 91,961 uninsured children, with 68,051 of these in families earning below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.

or more information about individual Louisiana Medicaid Programs web site http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov/offices.

Making the rounds!  
Olivia Zeringue, foreground, a Medicaid analyst, distributes pamphlets at Bethlehem Baptist Church, in Hahnville.
Making the rounds! Olivia Zeringue, foreground, a Medicaid analyst, distributes pamphlets at Bethlehem Baptist Church, in Hahnville.