Get help enrolling for Affordable Care Act
By KAREN BERKOWITZ firstname.lastname@example.org | @KarenABerkowitz October 1, 2013 4:22AM
Lake County is offering Affordable Care Act help in advance of the Dec. 23 registration deadline. | AP file photo
Updated: December 2, 2013 3:34PM
Moraine Township has teamed up with the Lake County Health Department and the Alliance for Human Services to assist people in navigating the new health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act.
Township Supervisor Anne Flanigan Bassi said people who are uninsured or underinsured might be self-employed, starting a new business or thinking about retiring early. They might have recently lost a job, been precluded by a pre-existing medical condition or work for an employer that don’t offer coverage.
“Existing medical conditions and gender will no longer be factored into health insurance costs as of Jan. 1, making health insurance affordable for many, including small businesses,” Flanigan Bassi said.
Throughout the six-month enrollment period that started this month, the township will have volunteers on hand to help individuals and businesses through the enrollment process.
Staff, elected officials and volunteers have gone through 40 hours of training and passed criminal background checks in order to be certified to offer help.
“We believe the process to determine what an individual or family could be eligible for in terms of expanded Medicaid coverage or subsidies could be daunting to the average person,” said Flanigan Bassi.
Help is available by appointment at 847-432-3240.
The health department estimates that approximately 70,000 residents in Lake County are uninsured, impacting the broader community in multiple ways.
Under the Affordable Care Act, residents with incomes of 138 percent or less of the federal poverty guidelines — or about $27,000 for a three-person household — will be eligible for Expanded Medicaid. Other residents with incomes up to 400 percent of federal poverty guidelines will be eligible for subsidies on a sliding scale.
Flanigan Bassi cautioned residents to be leery of the scams already “hitting the streets.”
“We like to caution residents that if anyone offers them help to enroll, that they ask to see certification,” Flanigan Bassi said, noting the enrollment process requires the sharing of confidential information.
“Make sure anybody you are sharing information with, has the credentials and has gone through the training,” she added.
Volunteers have been trained in maintaining privacy and confidentiality.
“There will be internet scams, phone scams and scads of people offering to help,” she said.
While Moraine Township is focusing its outreach efforts on southeast Lake County, the office may assist any Illinois resident. “Someone who works in Highwood, but lives in Arlington Heights is welcome to use this free service,” she noted.
Assistance will be available by appointment daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Moraine Township office, 777 Central Avenue, Highland Park. Weekend and evening hours will be offered at various community locations.
For more details, call 847-432-3240, email email@example.com or visit www.morainetownship.org.