Medicaid rules are changing, putting health coverage for over two million Hoosiers at risk. Increasing community communication and mobilization and helping people stay covered are the goals of the All-Community Medicaid Benefits and Outreach Fair on Saturday, April 29 at Broadway United Methodist Church at 609 E. 29th St. Indianapolis, IN 46205
This free and open event is organized by four inner-city Indianapolis churches who are partnering to support healthy communities in the predominantly Black neighborhoods they serve.
Navigators and outreach teams will provide personal assistance to Medicaid members on how to keep their benefits or find new health insurance. Community leaders are encouraged to attend to learn how to help neighbors keep their benefits.
Pastor Aaron Hobbs of Broadway UMC invites everyone to attend. “It will be a fun, festival experience. We will have live music by DJ King, a Bouncy House, body painting, games for kids, and food! We welcome the entire family. Come learn how to help get the word out! Let’s keep everybody covered. Let’s protect our friends, family, and neighbors.”
Indiana’s Medicaid programs are returning to their normal rules in April 2023. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of Indiana has protected Medicaid members’ coverage and suspended premiums and co-payments. Nearly one in three Hoosiers is covered by Medicaid today. Everyone on the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP), Hoosier Healthwise, Children’s Health Insurance Program, Hoosier Care Connect, and Traditional Medicaid must renew eligibility.
Event organizers are concerned that hundreds of thousands could lose health insurance in 2023. “You, your friends or neighbors could lose health care,” said Pastor Jerry E. Davis, III, Crossroads AME Church. This April starts a twelve-month cycle when Medicaid members will receive letters from the Family and Social Services Administration requiring them to document their income, household size, or other information to keep their benefits. “Many people do not know they have to renew their eligibility each year,” noted Pastor Davis. “Many people do not know which month is their renewal date. Many people have moved from the address the state has on record, so they may miss their letters.”
“Before COVID-19”, said Dr. Ivan Douglas Hicks, Pastor, First Baptist Church North Indianapolis, “our church co-led a study to learn what helps or hinders people from getting, keeping, and using their HIP benefits. We discovered the need and made specific recommendations to improve systems of communication and access that were hindered by bureaucratic hazing. Our hope through the All-Community Medicaid Benefits and Outreach Fair is to call attention to a looming problem that has the potential to negatively impact so many of our neighbors. We are encouraging both the people and the systems to be a part of the needed solution – right now”
The four sponsoring congregations, which include Allen Chapel AME Church, Broadway United Methodist Church, Crossroads AME Church, and First Baptist Church North Indianapolis, are organizing the fair with project partners Good to the SOUL, Indiana University Health, and the Monon Collaborative of Indiana CTSI. Partners include Covering Kids and Families of Indiana, Indiana Primary Health Care Association, Hoosier Action, Eskenazi Health, Indy HealthNet, Indiana Legal Services, State Health Insurance Assistance Program, MDwise, Anthem, MHS, and many others.
This fair builds on the foundation of the #HealthyMe learning community, which began its efforts in the summer of 2020. Back then, leaders of Indianapolis churches came together to start a community-wide conversation to help address issues of health and wellness starting with their own congregations.
Free Medicaid benefits and outreach fair – open to the public
Saturday, April 29
1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Broadway United Methodist Church
609 E. 29th St.
Indianapolis, IN 46205