Dec 22, 2013

County has certified counselor for Healthcare Marketplace

BY RYAN BERRY
MANAGING EDITOR
GREENVILLE – Whether you are for it or against the Affordable Care Act (ACA a.k.a. ObamaCare), it is the law of the land. The deadline to get health care coverage before a penalty is assessed is March 31. While the nightly news is filled with horror stories from the ACA website, one local person is helping residents become compliant with the law.

Family Health recently received a grant from the federal government to help residents navigate the ACA website, Healthcare Marketplace. In turn, Alexis Denlinger became Darke County’s only certified ACA application counselor. To earn her certification, Denlinger was required to take classes and pass a test. The only difference between her position and the ACA phone operators is she can sit down with a client and help them face to face. She is able to translate some of the terms used on the website in a way her clients can understand.

Denlinger is quick to point out her services are free and available to anyone in the county. They do not have to be a patient at Family Health.

If you’re not sure whether you qualify for Medicaid or not, she will help guide you through the process. Denlinger noted she helped one local business owner with his application only to learn he was eligible for Medicaid. He had always paid for his own insurance, but was delighted learn of his eligibility.

She took her first appointment in mid-October and since mid-November her schedule has been full every day. In order to help more people, she will be hosting a group session on Jan. 4 at the Greenville campus of Edison. The computer room will be set up to offer privacy for individuals. Denlinger is able to accept 22 persons in the group session and urged persons wanting help to sign up soon. The session will run from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

When setting up an appointment, be sure to bring social security numbers, W-2’s or pay stubs, employee coverage information if offered and private insurance information.

Persons who do not need to apply are persons with a private plan that meets the requirements of the ACA, an employer or group plan, Medicare enrollees (includes supplement plans), Medicaid or CHIP and Tricare or a Veterans Health Program.

The penalty for uninsured in 2014 is $95 for adults, $47.50 for a child and $285 for a family or 1% of the family’s income, whichever is greater. In 2015, the penalty increases to $325 for adults, $16.50 for a child and $975 for a family or 2% of the family’s income, whichever is greater. In 2016, persons without insurance can expect to pay $695.50 for adults, $347 for a child and $2085 for a family or 2.5% of the family’s income, whichever is greater.

With the success this program has already experienced, Family Health is considering adding another counselor to accommodate more people.

For step by step instructions to find a health care provider through the ACA Health Care Marketplace, contact Denlinger at 548-9680 or by email at adenlinger@familyhealth.cc. Appointments can also be made by visiting the Family Health website, www.buildinghealthylives.org.

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