Lakeshore News Tonight

Healthcare Marketplace Offers Plans After Glitches Healed

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October 7, 2013 — The national push for health care is here and affected Americans are still sorting through its details.

The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, reforms healthcare access across the country.

Thousands of Hoosiers already receive healthcare assistance through Medicaid, which serves low-income families.

At a recent healthcare town hall meeting, Indiana State Representative Charlie Brown, who represents District 3, explained that the state will not expand the joint federal and state program for those who don’t currently meet the poverty guidelines, such as childless adults.

“The disappointing part about not expanding Medicaid is that many of our already Indiana tax dollars that’s sitting in Washington, D.C. will not be accessible to us and may be going to one of those collar states such as Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio as a result of the wisdom of the administration not to expand Medicaid,” State Rep. Brown said.

Another option is the Healthy Indiana Plan, or HIP, which has about 38,000  people enrolled.  A portion of those people are being rolled into the federal exchanges due to a change in the poverty level determination.  MDWise consultant Kim Eldridge travels the seven-county region helping people understand their options.

“Through MDWise we have always worked with Medicaid.  That’s one of the products that we offer.  Now, we are working with the Affordable Care Act marketplace in something we call the MDWise marketplace to offer affordable insurance to people,” said Eldridge.

Indiana is one of 36 states allowing the federal government to operate its exchange.  Hoosiers must join the rest of the country in tapping into the marketplace by calling or visiting Healthcare.gov.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report the site drew more than four million people in its first 24 hours of operation this month.  The heavy traffic left many with a delay in obtaining any coverage.  Eldridge said she already hit the ground running, giving presentations about the options.

“All of the insurances will be offered on what’s called a metal level, which will be like gold, silver and bronze.  All three products will offer the exact same insurance to people.  That includes preventative services.  There’s a list of preventative services that’s of real importance to women because things like mammograms will be offered in these preventative services with no additional co-pay,” said Eldridge.

Just like its name, Eldridge said the insurance will be affordable.  Big name health insurance companies will offer plans based on income, up to 400% of the poverty level.  Eldridge says a family of four can make up to $94,000 annually and still participate in the marketplace.

“The bronze metal level will have a lower premium, but higher deductibles and higher co-pays.  With the silver plan, people will be able to take advantage of cost sharing and subsidies.  That may pay a great portion of somebody’s premium,” Eldridge said.

By: Renetta DuBose

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