Not Just Medical Care
Medical care is a top priority, but at Buckeye we work to meet the many needs that may impact our member’s ability to access that care. We want to ensure services are provided that meet the needs of the whole person. Look for more to come....
EMERGENCY BROADBAND BENEFITS CAN HELP INCREASE TELEHEALTH USAGE AMONG PATIENTS
Reliance on the internet skyrocketed during the pandemic for services such as telehealth visits. Helping patients stay connected digitally through broadband services has proven to be more than a luxury: it is a necessity. Study after study have identified the causes and effects of the Digital Divide – or the limited ability of people in underserved, low income, and rural areas to access or afford basic internet services. Telehealth use in these areas is lower than in other areas. Many of your patients may fall into this category.
What is the Emergency Broadband Benefit?
The Emergency Broadband Benefit is an emergency program created by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband services for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on tribal land. It also provides a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet.*
The program does not have a set end date. It will continue until all funds are depleted or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the pandemic, whichever comes first.
Who is eligible for Emergency Broadband Benefits?
Eligible households only need to meet one of the following criteria to qualify for benefits:
- Qualify for SNAP, Medicaid, or the Lifeline program;
- Receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program (or have received during the previous school year);
- Received a Federal Pell Grant this year;
- Experienced a substantial loss of income since Feb. 29, 2020 and the household had a total income below $99,000 for single filers or $198,000 for joint filers in 2020; or
- Qualify for a participating providers' existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
How can my patients apply for the benefit?
Individuals can call their participating broadband provider of choice to see if they qualify and enroll over the phone. Provider participation in the program varies from state to state. A list of participating emergency broadband benefit providers can be found here.
Patients can also apply online directly at GetEmergencyBroadband.org, or call 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application.
ADDITIONAL BENEFITS AND SUPPORTS
The Emergency Broadband Benefit can be combined with other discount and benefit programs. Additional resources that patients may qualify for include:
LIFELINE: Lifeline is an FCC program that provides subscribers a discount of up to $9.25 on monthly telephone service, broadband Internet service, or bundled voice-broadband packages. For information about how to qualify and apply, visit the Lifeline Support page.
SAFELINK: SafeLink is a federal phone and data program available to SNAP recipients and Medicaid beneficiaries. Through SafeLink, eligible recipients receive free minutes, texts, and data every month. Benefits vary by state. For more information on how to enroll, visit the SafeLink Enrollment page.
ACCESS FROM AT&T: Access from AT&T provides low-cost internet service including in-home Wi-Fi for $10/month or less in some areas. Currently, Access from AT&T is available in 21 states. Visit ACCESS from AT&T to find out more.
Buckeye is committed to helping your patients get the best possible care. If your practice does not currently carry telehealth options, or does not offer after-hours availability, below are additional telehealth resources Buckeye patients can use.
For more information about the Emergency Broadband Benefits Program, or if patients would like additional help getting healthy food, housing, transportation, or support with other life activities, encourage your patients to contact their health plan. Buckeye Member Services can be reached at 866.549.8289:
* The benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.
Buckeye Health Plan offers transportation to help members get to medical, dental and vision appointments, as well as several non-medical reasons, at no cost to them.
Would you be interested in becoming a transportation provider?