Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

March 12, 2014

Clock ticking for uninsured Hoosiers to get ACA coverage

By Mary Kuhlman Indiana News Service
Greensburg Daily News

---- — INDIANAPOLIS – The Affordable Care Act clock is ticking ... Uninsured Hoosiers have just three weeks to apply for health-care coverage through the insurance marketplace.

HealthLinc is a federally qualified health center serving northern Indiana. According to CEO Beth Wrobel, now that the initial hiccups with the national ACA website are resolved, and those who signed up now getting their insurance cards, perceptions about the marketplace plans have changed.

“We’ve seen a real increase in those people, through word of mouth, (who) would be calling us and say, ‘Well, my neighbor got insurance and you helped them; can you help us?’ And sure, we’re getting them in there,” Wrobel declared.

Wrobel encourages those who do not have health care insurance to reach out to a federally-qualified health center, where staff can help them look at plans and find the best option. She said that for some people, having health insurance can be life-changing.

“Boy, having that insurance card can really get them to be healthy, especially if they’ve got chronic diseases,” she said. “And sometimes if we can get them healthy, that can lead to them being able to go out and get a job and be productive.”

Wrobel said while the insurance marketplace is helping many people, there are others without medical care because the state has not expanded Medicaid.

“If anything that’s kind of sad that I get reported back from my navigators is that when they work with those people and they would have qualified for Medicaid expansion, and then they remain uninsured, so that’s a huge issue,” she said.

She said about 338,000 Hoosiers fall into a coverage gap, because they don’t qualify for federal tax credits in the marketplace, but they make too much to qualify for Medicaid.

It’s estimated that more than 48,000 Indiana residents have enrolled for coverage so far. Open enrollment for 2014 ends March 31, and those who fail to get coverage by then may face fines. They will have to wait until November to enroll for coverage for next year.

More information is at HealthCare.gov.