PALMYRA TWP. (Pike)- ACCESS Plus, a health insurance program for people on Pennsylvania Medical Assistance, is being discontinued in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Participants will have to choose another plan by February 7.

A public meeting has been scheduled to discuss the options, Monday, Feb. 4 from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Wallenpaupack North Primary School cafeteria.

The meeting is being hosted by the Department of Public Welfare and the Pennsylvania Enrollment Services program. At the meeting, representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare (DPW), Maximus and vendors will be present to answer questions.

Most ACCESS Plus consumers will need to join a HealthChoices plan no later than February 7, 2013. Beginning March 1, 2013, consumer will get their Medical Assistance coverage through a managed care plan. United HealthCare Community Plan is also ending at the same time.

This public meeting will address:

• How the implementation will take place,

• The Open Enrollment process

• The enrollment services available for all consumers and

• The timeline for consumers to make a choice.

ACCESS Plus is sponsored by the DPW. With ACCESS Plus, enrollees receive all medically necessary services for which they are currently eligible for through their Medical Assistance (MA) benefits. Through ACCESS Plus, enrollees are also eligible to receive Case Management and Disease Management services.

Benefits of this program, which will soon be unavailable in the region, include a primary care provider, ACCESS to a doctor or clinic around the clock, help in making appointments, chronic disease management, check-ups for children through the age of 20 and a toll-free help line.

The program is being discontinued across Pennsylvania, and the last counties to have it phased out are in the northeast.

Families will be able to choose from three other programs, AmeriHealth Northeast; CoventryCares and Geisinger Health Plan.

Lorie Devoe, Northeast Coordinator for the Special Kids Network, arranged for the public meeting at the North Primary School. There were previous public meetings in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area, she said, but were not convenient for everyone in this region.

The Hawley resident stated that as a mother of four children that have special needs, she is acutely aware of the concern changes in insurance coverage and programs can bring. Families need to know if the new program will accept their doctor, will certain treatments be covered, and where will they need to go for help.

Consumers on Medical Assistance were notified of the changes by a variety of means, including letter, e-mail, phone calls and notice of special meetings.

Wallenpaupack North Primary School is located at 158 Atlantic Avenue, off Route 6 behind Turkey Hill.

For more information about the meeting, call Lori Devoe at (570)949-4152 or e-mail