Local Agencies Help With Healthcare Law

by Cooper on October 1, 2013

in News

 
IT’S TUESDAY OCTOBER 1, 2013 AND THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT – THE NEW NATIONAL HEALTH CARE LAW THAT’S ALSO REFERRED TO AS “OBAMACARE” – IS NOW IN EFFECT.

FOR NOW, THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE INFORMATION ABOUT THE NEW LAW IS AVAILABLE ONLINE AT THE WEBSITE www.healthcare.gov.

BUT LOCAL AGENCIES IN CONWAY ARE LEARNING MORE DETAILS ABOUT OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO PEOPLE SHOPPING FOR A HEALTHCARE PLAN AND AT THIS POINT, CAN AT LEAST REFER PEOPLE TO SOMEONE WHO CAN ANSWER SPECIFIC QUESTIONS ABOUT THEM.

THE WHITE MOUNTAIN COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER IN CONWAY IS A PRIMARY PLAYER IN THE PROCESS IN CARROLL COUNTY. A PRIVATE NON-PROFIT THAT RELIES ON SOURCES OF PUBLIC FUNDING, IT BASICALLY PROVIDES A SAFETY NET FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE UNINSURED OR UNDER-INSURED, A DEMOGRAPHIC THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT IS ALSO INTENDED TO HELP.

HEALTH CENTER EXEC. DIRECTOR PATRICIA McMURRAY SAYS SHE WILL USE FEDERAL GRANT MONEY TO TRAIN EMPLOYEES CALLED “PATIENT NAVIGATORS” – IN HER AGENCY’S CASE, TWO WORKERS WHO WILL BECOME EXPERTS ABOUT THE NEW HEALTHCARE LAW. THE WORKERS WILL THEN GO OUT INTO THE COMMUNITY TO TALK TO GROUPS ABOUT THE LAW OR MEET INDIVIDUALLY WITH PATIENTS TO EXPLAIN WHAT OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE TO THEM ON THE NEW ONLINE MARKETPLACE EXCHANGES.

McMURRAY HOPES TO HAVE THE NAVIGATORS TRAINED AND READY BY MID-OCTOBER, 2013. SHE ALSO HOPES THE NEW LAW WILL HELP WORKERS IN THE VALLEY, SOME WHO MAY WORK PART-TIME FOR TOURIST ORIENTED BUSINESSES THAT DON’T OFFER HEALTHCARE PLANS.

THE CONWAY PUBLIC LIBRARY, WILL ALSO PROVIDE INFORMATION ABOUT THE NEW LAW. HERE’S LIBRARY DIRECTOR DAVID SMOLEN SAYS HIS EMPLOYEES WILL HELP PATRONS FIND INFORMATION ABOUT THE NEW LAW, BUT WON’T MAKE SPECIFIC RECOMMENDATIONS ABOUT HOW THE PATRON SHOULD USE THE INFORMATION.

MEMORIAL HOSPITAL SPOKESPERSON KATHY BENNETT SAYS THE HOSPITAL IS DEVELOPING A SYSTEM THAT WILL ALLOW PATIENTS COMING IN FOR A PROCEDURE TO HAVE TRAINED FINANCIAL COUNSELORS EXAMINE THEIR CURRENT COVERAGE AND SEE WHAT PROGRAMS THEY MIGHT QUALIFY FOR.

THE HOSPITAL WILL ALSO LAUNCH AN ONLINE COST ESTIMATOR TO GIVE PATIENTS AN IDEA OF WHAT THEIR OUT-OF-POCKET EXPENSES WOULD BE FOR A PARTICULAR SERVICE OFFERED BY THE HOSPITAL.

CURRENTLY ONLY ONE HEALTHCARE INSURER – ANTHEM BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD – IS OFFERING PLANS ON THE MARKETPLACE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE AND MAINE.

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