By RICK HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON — Jefferson County Health Department has been selected as one of 44 community-based organizations around the state to participate in the outreach and enrollment effort for the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obama Care.
The organizations were selected by the administration of Gov. Pat Quinn, according to a health department news release.
The selected organizations will be conducting outreach, providing education and facilitating enrollment in the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace. Enrollment in the Marketplace will begin on Oct. 1, with pre-enrollment activities beginning this summer.
Jefferson County Health Department received a grant of $35,000 and has submitted a detailed plan to the state describing how it will use the funds to conduct the outreach, education and enrollment activities.
“We know there is a great need for affordable health coverage in Southern Illinois, and we look forward to working with our partners to help educate the public about the options that will be available through the Marketplace,” stated Health Department Administrator Mark Stevens.
The state has received federal funding to cover the start-up costs and the first year of operations of the Marketplace. Over the coming weeks and months, selected staffers from the JCHD will take part in an intensive training program designed to prepare them to educate consumers about the ACA and their health care options. The grants were awarded through a competitive application process administered by the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Public Health.
“We’ve seen an outpouring of interest from community groups across Illinois who understand the importance of this historic effort and are eager to be involved,” Quinn stated. “These proven organizations have stepped up and joined our movement to get the word out about insurance options that will improve the health of the people of Illinois. Our goal is to reach out to every corner of the state and make sure no one is left out of this opportunity to obtain quality health coverage and the peace of mind that comes with it.”
Marketplace Director Jennifer Koehler added, “We know that many of those who are eligible for subsidized coverage through the ACA have never, or rarely, had access to comprehensive health coverage. Our goal is to help them make decisions about what kind of health care coverage best suits their needs.”
Enrollment in the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace will begin on Oct. 1 with coverage to start Jan. 1, 2014. The Marketplace will be accessed through a user-friendly web site where individuals, families and small businesses will be able to compare health care policies and premiums and purchase comprehensive health coverage. Those with income between 138 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level will receive subsidies on a sliding scale if they obtain coverage through the Marketplace.