Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

January 17, 2014

The hangups of healthcare

Affordable Care Act tax credits tough for many Kokomo residents to obtain

(Continued)

Project Access Director Sherry Rahl estimated out of the more than 100 uninsured people that have been guided through the application process at her office on North Dixon Road, only seven qualified for ACA coverage and tax credits.

“If you’re not going to increase Medicaid, something has to be done for our people,” she said. “These people in the lobby — they have no other choice but us. If they’re above 100 percent of the poverty level, there is nothing right now in the state of Indiana to cover anybody.”

Indiana Health Center Outreach Enrollment Navigator Nemramy D’Agostino said many who enter her office and the Howard County Medical Society’s Project Access program fall below those levels.

“It’s supposed to be for uninsured or underinsured people to make it affordable,” D’Agostino said of the ACA. “Because the Medicaid population is not getting taken care of. Due to a lack of expansion, they’re still uninsured.”

Working through the glitches

Nearly 2.2 million people picked a health insurance plan through the exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act through Dec. 28, according to numbers released this week by the Department of Health and Human Services. That is about 65 percent of the Obama administration’s goal for this period.

In Indiana, 30,443 individuals have selected a private plan — about 52 percent of the third-month target of 58,750. Out of the 126,217 people who have applied for coverage through the marketplace, 42,898 were eligible for Medicaid or the HIP. While lower than hoped for, the figures are a vast improvement from the 3,492 Hoosiers who had selected a marketplace plan through the month of November.

After experiencing a number of glitches in its early stages, the number of ACA applicants is up across the country now that those problems are being fixed.

“It started to work around the middle of November and on,” D’Agostino said of HealthCare.gov. “We’ve had some glitches in verifying identities, but it’s solved itself.

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