Image of heart with the words Smartcare benefit plan for clients.


July 19, 2023

ImagThe benefits provided by the Board are available to Ashtabula County residents. The Board and its providers work together in many ways to ensure quality services.

What If I Can’t Afford To Pay For My Services?

Help is provided for people of various income levels.  Priority is given to those most in need. You must be a resident of Ashtabula County to be eligible for benefits. Non-residents may receive services in a crisis situation.

How Do I Become Part Of the Benefit Plan?

Ashtabula County residents who request financial assistance will be given the opportunity to enroll in the SmartCare Benefit Plan. Financial assistance offered to you is based on information regarding your specific needs, your financial status, and the resources of the Board.

What Does Enrollment In The Benefit Plan Involve?

When you enroll, you’ll be asked to sign a billing authorization statement.  This form permits the provider to bill the Board, accessing public funds.  During intake, you will be asked about your income, family size, whether you have medical insurance or whether you are covered by Medicaid or Medicare. This information will be entered into a computerized billing system operated by the Board.

Will My Private Insurance Cover My Care?

Most providers accept private insurance cards and Medicaid. Providers will work with you to determine if your treatment is covered under your private insurance plan or Medicaid.

Do I Have To Enroll In the Benefit Plan?

You may choose not to enroll. In that case, you may not qualify for public funds. Other arrangements will need to be made for covering your treatment cost and you may be billed.

How Will I Know I’m Getting The Best Services?

Providers are reviewed by the Boards and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Most providers are also accredited by various professional organizations. Treatment staff must have specific degrees, certifications, and trainings.

What is the Benefit Plan?

The Benefit Plan is the behavioral health plan that provides public funds to assist with the payment of services. Providers cooperate so that a wide range of treatment options are available to individuals and families as they work toward recovery. These may include counseling, medication, case management, peer support, housing, job training, consultation with schools, social supports, and development of everyday living skills. The plan has also been designed to deal with the mental health and substance use crises.

Where Do Funds Come From?

The Board is funded by Federal and State tax dollars as well as local levy dollars. Funding comes from Federal sources and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

What Help Does The Benefit Plan Offer?

Mental health and substance use services are offered to residents based on clinical need. Many kinds of mental health and substance use problems can be treated through the plan. Personal, behavioral, and social problems may also be addressed through counseling, medications, support groups, and education. Through the plan, help is available for people of all ages, including children.

What About More Serious Mental Health Illnesses?

Serious mental illnesses sometimes referred to as brain disorders, are conditions such as major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. These psychiatric conditions may range from mild to severe and are treated by qualified providers through the plan. Your opportunity for success is increased when you participate in the treatment plan developed by you and your provider.

How Can I Receive These Services?

If you are not in an emergency, contact the intake department of the community behavioral health provider from which you would like to receive services and request an appointment. A professional staff person will ask you about your situation to make sure the services provided by that provider are appropriate for your needs. You may also be referred to another provider since the level of care you need may only be available from certain providers.

 Can My Family And I Help Decide On My Treatment?

You are encouraged to be involved in decisions regarding your treatment.  This is a right granted to you by state law. When there is no conflict with confidentiality, families are encouraged to be involved with the treatment being received. In most cases, the more a family is part of the individual’s care, the more progress can be made.

What Family Supports Are Available to Us?

Families dealing with severe mental illness may wish to join the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and local support groups. Providers also have information available for alcohol and drug use support groups. In addition, support and education may be available for other mental health and substance use issues.

Can I Help to Make Sure My Treatment Is Successful?

In order for you and your family to receive the most benefit from services, you must think of yourself as part of the treatment team.

What If I Seek Services Outside Ashtabula County?

Enrollees are encouraged to use county providers that are part of the plan.  If services are sought in another county, and you are not Medicaid eligible, most benefits may not be available.

I’m Concerned: Is My Information Kept Confidential?

The Board and providers must comply with state and federal laws regarding confidentiality. Your personal information, including your name, will be kept confidential. Only information for billing will be stored in the computer system with your name.

What If I’m Not Satisfied With My Care?

The plan aims to provide only quality services but you are encouraged to discuss with your provider any concerns regarding treatment. If the problem persists, you can file a formal grievance. The Board and provider have a plan for dealing with such complaints. To begin this process, ask to speak to the client’s rights officer. Your rights are fully explained in the Client’s Rights Policy and Grievance Procedure. To obtain a copy, contact your treatment provider or the Board at 440-992-3121.