Community Health Centers to Help With Insurance Enrollment When Affordable Care Act Kicks In

More than 45 million uninsured Americans are waiting for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act to receive coverage. Community Health Centers will help patients with enrollment, no matter what their income level.

For more than 45 million uninsured Americans eagerly awaiting the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, community health centers are the place to go for answers.

The centers will offer help with insurance enrollment once the new healthcare law kicks in.

Many, like Etzer Obas, want to know how much coverage will cost and if they will be able to afford it. Obas is retired, but because he worked his whole life in his native Haiti, he does not qualify for Medicaid, leaving him with high medical expenses.

"We have to pay a lot of money for health," Obas said. "My wife hit her toe. It cost me $1,720."

Like many uninsured Americans, Obas chooses to go to his community health center to receive medical care. Those same community centers will now help patients enroll for affordable health insurance coverage.

The centers have been mandated by the government to educate the community about the health insurance exchanges that will be starting Oct. 1st, said Dr. Deborah Garcia, Borinquen Healthcare Center Chief Medical Officer.

Borinquen Healthcare Center is among the 46 Florida community centers awarded money by the government to expand their services. Beginning Oct. 1st, they will have staff on hand to help the uninsured sign up for health insurance no matter their income level.

"Anyone who is at 400 percent of the poverty level - and the definition of that is a family of four who is making $97,000 - that family of four would apply for the exchanges and they would have the option of choosing from a plan," Dr.Garcia said.

Those who need additional help affording a plan will also get help applying for a government tax credit subsidy, which is basically an automatic discount on a policy.

Gina Denis will be processing those applications at Borinquen Healthcare Center.

"I'll be helping them with their insurance and finding the subsidized program that's adequate for them," Denis said.

But what happens to those with Medicare or Medicaid? According to AARP, they don't need to take action because that qualifies as coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The AARP also warns to be cautious if someone calls trying to sell insurance under the new act, because it's a scam.

Those who do need coverage will still have to wait until the rates come out to see exactly how much they will have to pay. As for the benefits, no one can be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition.

"They'll be able to see a physician, they'll be able to get their prescription drug coverage, mental health coverage, and maternity is covered as well," Dr. Garcia said.

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