Understanding Medicaid, HARP, and CHPlus | EmblemHealth

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Understanding Medicaid, Enhanced Care Plus (HARP) and Child Health Plus (CHPlus)

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EmblemHealth offers New York State-sponsored programs that include a full range of health care benefits and services for families, for children and for individuals. In addition, we offer managed care plans for those in need of long-term skilled nursing care in their home. All three programs provide access to top-quality doctors and hospitals in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester.

Medicaid Managed Care is a low or no-cost health and dental insurance program. It is for some low-income people, families and children; pregnant women; the elderly; and people with disabilities. 

Children under age 21 who are covered by Medicaid and have mental health and/or substance use needs can get additional Children's Family Treatment and Support Services at no additional cost. These children’s services are provided at home or in the community.

Enhanced Care Plus (HARP)
Enhanced Care Plus is a Health and Recovery Plan (HARP) product. You need to have Medicaid Managed Care to get it. EmblemHealth manages physical health and behavioral health (mental health and substance use) services in an integrated way. To be eligible, an individual must be 21 years or older, insured only by Medicaid, and be eligible for Medicaid managed care enrollment.

Enhanced Care Plus includes an enhanced benefit package of Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) and Community Oriented Recovery and Empowerment (CORE) services for eligible members. It also provides members with care management through EmblemHealth and community partners to help coordinate all their physical health, behavioral health, and non-Medicaid support needs. HARP members are eligible to enroll in a Health Home. In addition to HARP benefits, Health Homes can assist members with food, housing, employment needs, and much more.


HARP Behavioral Health Home and Community-Based Services
Members may be eligible for additional support under HARP’s Behavioral Health Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS). These services support members with career preparedness, mental health treatment, and transportation.

  • Crisis Residential Services
    Gives you a safe place to go when you need to leave a stressful situation. They can also help you stay out of the hospital when you are having a crisis by providing a safe place that offers treatment.
  • Habilitation Services
    Teaches you new skills to live independently in the community.
  • Education Support Services
    Helps you find ways to return to school for education and training that may help you get a job.
  • Pre-Vocational Services
    Offers training in skills needed to prepare for a job.
  • Transitional Employment Services
    Provides short-term assistance while trying out different jobs. This includes on-the-job training to strengthen work skills that can help you keep a job at or above minimum wage.
  • Intensive Supported Employment Services
    Assists you with finding a job at or above minimum wage and keeping it.
  • Ongoing Supported Employment Services
    Helps you keep your job and be successful at it.
  • Non-Medical Transportation
    Offers transportation to non-medical activities related to a goal in your plan of care.*

* This service is covered by Medicaid Fee-for-Service, not EmblemHealth.


HARP Community Oriented Recovery Empowerment Services (CORE)
HARP also offers Community Oriented Recovery Empowerment Services (CORE), which help members integrate into their community with established counseling and support. CORE offers:

  • Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR)
    This service offers training in life skills like making social connections, finding or keeping a job, starting or returning to school, and using community resources. 
  • Community Psychiatric Supports and Treatment (CPST)
    This service helps you manage symptoms through counseling and clinical treatment.
  • Family Support and Training (FST)
    This service gives your family and friends the information and skills to help and support you.
  • Empowerment Services – Peer Support
    This service connects you to peer specialists who have gone through recovery. You will get support and assistance with learning how to:
    • Live with health challenges and be independent.
    • Make decisions about your own recovery.
    • Find natural supports and resources.

Child Health Plus is low or no-cost health and dental insurance for children ages 0-19 who are not eligible for Medicaid. The amount you pay each month for Child Health Plus depends on your family income. You pay nothing when your child receives services for covered benefits with CHPlus.

We're committed to providing care that's easy to obtain and meets your needs. The questions and answers below give you important information about choosing doctors, in network specialists, and much more.

What is a Primary Care Physician (PCP)?

Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) include doctors and Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioners in family practice, general practice, internal medicine or pediatrics. Your PCP is the best resource to help you access the health care system. Members are required to choose a PCP to manage their health care needs and are encouraged to do so as soon as they enroll. Most members can choose a PCP that works either at a medical group practice or an office that is convenient for them, and change their PCP at any time, for any reason. In addition, each family member can have a different PCP.

Your PCP will:

  • Provide most of your health care, including hospital admissions
  • Refer you to specialists when needed

Can I choose a PCP now?

Yes, you can. Choosing a PCP as soon as possible makes it easier for you to receive care once you are a member. If you are already a member, look on your EmblemHealth ID card. Your PCP's name and phone number are printed on the front of the card. If the name that appears is not the PCP you selected, or if no name appears, you can change or select your PCP online. Sign in to your myEmblemHealth account to search and select a new PCP. Your change will be effective immediately. If you need help, call the Customer Service line at 1-855-283-2146.


Note: Some members have special procedures they must follow for changing their PCP.


Do I need a referral to see a specialist?

No. You do not need a referral from your PCP to see an in network specialist. You must see a specialist who participates in your network*. There are some treatments and services that your PCP must ask EmblemHealth to approve before you can get them. Your PCP will be able to tell you what they are.

You can get the following specialty services without prior approval:

  • Chemical dependence assessments and treatments for alcohol and substance abuse
  • Dental services
  • Eye exams and eyeglasses
  • Mental health assessments and treatments
  • Midwife services
  • OB services (prenatal care)
  • GYN services (such as family planning, sexually transmitted disease services and routine women's health care, such as breast and pelvic exams and mammographies)
  • Emergency care

In addition to the services listed above, Medicaid and CHPlus members can also obtain immunizations, TB and HIV counseling, and testing services from public health clinics without plan approval.

Medicaid members may also get the following services from any provider that will accept their Medicaid card:

  • Family planning, reproductive health services.
  • Services covered by regular Medicaid that are not covered by EmblemHealth.

Please refer to the Medicaid Member Handbook for a complete listing of these services.

 * Except in an emergency or if you received prior authorization from EmblemHealth.


Should I choose a PCP practicing at a physician group practice or one that works in a neighborhood office?

Whichever is more convenient for you. Many members choose a PCP in one of our group practices, where members can see their PCP and specialists all under one roof. Other covered services are also available in the same location. Other members choose a PCP in a neighborhood office because the office is near their home or they know the doctor. The online provider directory lists network doctors in both types of settings.


Will I have to get approval from the plan before getting care?

You do not need approval before you get care from your PCP. However, certain covered services do require prior approval from EmblemHealth. Your Member Handbook lists these services. When your PCP refers you for services, he or she will get the approvals for you, when needed. 


How long does it usually take to get an appointment with a network doctor?

In emergencies, you can get care right away. In urgent situations, you can get an appointment within 24 hours. Just call your PCP. The wait time for other appointments depends on:

  • The type of appointment (routine care or sick care)
  • The type of doctor you are seeing (PCP or specialist)
  • The level of urgency

Your Member Handbook lists the appointment standards that all of our network doctors must follow, including:

  • Urgent care – Within 24 hours of calling your doctor for a visit
  • Non-urgent sick visits – Within 48 to 72 hours from calling your doctor
  • Routine care – Within four weeks from calling your doctor


These time frames are consistent with industry norms. We advise calling well in advance to schedule your annual physical exam because it requires more time than other appointments.


How do I get help in an emergency?

Call 911 or go to the emergency room. Be prepared for emergencies ahead of time by learning what you can do if one occurs. Check the "Emergency Care" section of your Member Handbook before you have a problem. This section can help you understand what is meant by "emergency." If you do not have an emergency, call your PCP's office to get the care you need. You can call your PCP 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


When in need of medical attention that is not life threatening, consider our Urgent Care Centers.

Find an urgent care center