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      Medicaid forum aims to educate Iowans on new and changing programs

      A community forum at Indian Hills Community College Tuesday aimed to educate Iowans on some of Medicaid's new and changing programs.

      The State Innovation Model Grant is a grant opportunity that seeks to reduce health care costs as a whole and make health care more accessible for Iowa's families. Chronic disease drives up health care costs and the current reimbursement methods do not produce amounts of value. Through this grant, the Iowa Department of Human Services and Accountable Care Organization hope to drive costs down by five to eight percent over three years.

      The second program of interest is the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan, which was passed by the legislature and approved by the governor in May. Once it receives federal approval, it will replace the IowaCare program.

      Medicaid hopes that Tuesday's session and others like it will answer people's questions about who is eligible and what each program covers.

      "We would like them to have an idea of what the vision of the state innovation model is, what direction we're heading, what approach or framework - is that we're planning to implement so they have an idea what's coming, why we're doing it," said Jennifer Vermeer, Iowa Medicaid Director. "And then pretty much the same goal for the Iowa Health and Wellness plan, to get word out about the plan and to answer questions people may have about the program."

      The Iowa Health and Wellness Plan begins January 1, 2014 and covers Iowans aged 19-64 with income up to and including 133% of the Federal Poverty Level. The plan's goals include incentives for healthy behavior, emphasis on care coordination and based on local access to care.

      The plan covers health services such as outpatient services, hospitalization, mental health and substance use disorder services, prescription drugs and dental services, among others.

      For more information on the State Innovation Model Grant and the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan, visit the Iowa Department of Human Services' website.

      For any specific questions, contact Vermeer at