Community First Health Plans Stresses Health Care Coverage To Lower Chronic Disease Rates In San Antonio

(Left to right) Catherine Zambrano-Chavez, Dr. Priti Mody-Bailey, Randy Beamer

(Left to right) Catherine Zambrano-Chavez, Dr. Priti Mody-Bailey, Randy Beamer

WOAI

San Antonio — The Alamo City’s only nonprofit health plan is partnering with local nonprofits and healthcare organizations to help the public identify chronic disease risks and encourage more uninsured people to get covered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The campaign is tied to Community First Health Plans’ participation in the federal Health Insurance Marketplace, where the company will offer Bronze, Silver and Gold health plans for the second year.

“Obviously, we want people to enroll in a health plan with Community First,” said President and CEO Greg Gieseman. “But our mission as a nonprofit is ultimately to promote a healthy community and provide greater access to affordable health coverage. Whether you enroll with us or not, it’s your right to get covered.”

Since the marketplace opened, the San Antonio area has seen a decrease in its uninsured population as some 76,000 people enrolled in a marketplace plan. More than 220,000 uninsured people in San Antonio still qualify for a subsidized plan under the ACA.

Texas and San Antonio in particular still rank among the top for uninsured residents in the nation. At the same time, San Antonio continues to struggle with high rates of obesity and diabetes. About 13 percent of the San Antonio population–twice the national average–has been diagnosed with diabetes while many more remain undiagnosed.

“The key to managing chronic disease is to have access to quality health care, where a doctor can identify your risks and help you better manage your lifestyle,” said Dr. Priti Mody-Bailey, Community First’s vice president and senior medical director. “That’s where health insurance is critical for our city as many people with chronic illnesses like diabetes go uninsured and undiagnosed for years before their health and finances ultimately deteriorate.”

Community First will begin its healthy city initiative by offering free glucose screenings in partnership with the Goodwill Industries of San Antonio’s Good Careers Academy (GCA). The first screening will take place Thursday, Nov. 20, from 1-3 p.m., at the downtown GCA at 703 Dolorosa. The American Diabetes Association will be on hand to provide educational information and outreach to the public as November is Diabetes Awareness Month.

Dr. Mody-Bailey says preventive care is also very important for young people as asthma and other chronic diseases can be avoided early with annual check ups and medications made financially feasible with health insurance.

The Texas Diabetes Council (TDC) recently recognized Community First Health Plans for delivering comprehensive diabetes care in the San Antonio area at the nationally standardized level. Each year, the TDC recognizes Texas HMOs that exceed or are equivalent to the state average for 10 performance measures for diabetes care established by the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS).

With more than 145,000 members, Community First provides affordable insurance to roughly 10 percent of the San Antonio area, making it one of the largest health insurers in South Texas. The health plan will be giving back to the community in unique ways as it celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2015.

Visit www.CommunityFirstHealth.org to learn more about open enrollment, health screening opportunities and the ACA.

ABOUT COMMUNITY FIRST HEALTH PLANS
CFHP was established in 1995 by the University Health System, specifically to provide health care coverage to the citizens of Bexar and the surrounding counties. As the only locally owned and managed, nonprofit health plan in the area, CFHP’s commitment to our members is to provide great health care benefits backed by outstanding service, delivered by people who live right here in South Texas.

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