Managed care group reports improved vax rate among W.Va. Medicaid recipients

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MCOs in West Virginia are starting a second attempt to increase the low vax rate for Medicaid members.


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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The companies which administer West Virginia’s Medicaid programs report success in vaccination rates among the state’s poorest population against Covid 19.

Unicare, Aetna, and The Health Plan are the state contracted companies which are serving the poor with health care coverage in West Virginia. As it stands the average age of the clientele of those three skews very young in West Virginia’s Medicaid roles.

Ben Beakes, executive director of the West Virginia Association of Health Plans, said it’s the demographic in the Mountain State most in need of vaccination.

“The early folks who were just getting the shot on their own was the older population. Now we’re trying to push some of the younger populations,” Beakes said on MetroNews “Talkline” Tuesday.

The Justice administration’s Covid 19 task force asked Beakes and the association to help reach the Medicaid population and to hopefully up the vaccination rate earlier this year. Beakes said they’ve had several different drives to reach their clients and they are starting to see success.

Initially the managed care organizations used social medial, email, and similar campaigns to get younger people in the Medicaid population more interested in the vaccination. They plan to use additional campaigns coming up like back to school vaccinations and working to insure every person is aware of the opportunity and able to get the information about the vaccination.

“Persistence is the key. This is going to be a long-term effort, there isn’t going tob e a silver bullet to solve this issue,” he explained.

In their most recent surveys the Association found 18,000 additional Medicaid patients have been vaccinated since the effort began.

Beakes said there are two keys to their campaign. First , make sure people have all of the necessary information to answer their questions and concerns so they can make an informed decision. Secondly, he said they are working to make sure people know where they can go to get the shots.

“We understand this is a personal decision, not a requirement. Our role is to try and give them as much information as possible so they can make an informed decision. We also want to connect them with a primary care physician so they can get even more information,” he explained.

According to Beakes the top question young people had about the vaccine was how it will impact an expectant mother and her unborn baby.


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