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Feb. 6 healthcare town hall set

By Natalie Bell                                                                                                                                      Special to the Prentiss Headlight

Finding your way around the new health insurance exchange, also called the “marketplace,” established under the Affordable Health Care law will be the focus of a town hall meeting Thursday, February 6, 2014, at 6:00 p.m., at the Jefferson Davis County Courthouse.

The health insurance marketplace is the virtual store available online at www.healthcare.gov. Open enrollment has been offered since October 1, 2013, and will close March 31, 2014. Anyone who does not have health insurance, and is not on Medicaid, must purchase insurance on the marketplace by March 31st, or face tax penalties.

The local town hall will feature two AARP Mississippi community outreach directors, Ivory Craig and Laurie Johnson, who will explain how the new marketplace benefits three groups of people: 1) those with insurance through their employer; 2) those who buy their own insurance, or who are uninsured; and 3) those with Medicare.

“Our biggest focus will be on those who buy their own insurance, or who are insured,” said Craig, when contacted by phone at the state AARP office, in Jackson.

The February 6 countywide meeting is being organized by Mr. Mitchel Gamblin, retired professor and community leader, with support from the AARP of Jeff Davis County and civic group Unity in the Community.

“Although there are two companies, Humana and Magnolia, selling insurance on the online marketplace in Mississippi,” said Craig, “only Humana is licensed to sell to Jeff Davis County residents.” Humana representatives Wayne Moore and Dorothy Middleton will be on hand at the town hall, said Gamblin.