• 77°

Public meetings on Affordable Health Care Law fulfill needs

Dozens of local residents took advantage of recent opportunities to hear about the new federal health care law and found answers to questions about their individual situations.

The residents attended one of two informational meetings. Both featured representatives from non-profit, membership organizations who presented unbiased information about the new health care law. The first meeting, held Tues., Feb. 4, was at the Prentiss Library and sponsored by the Jeff Davis County NAACP.

One participant at the first meeting stated that she was a retired educator, and continues to pay a $600 monthly health care premium for the provider that she prefers; however, she wanted to know was she eligible to get less expensive health care on www.healthcare.gov, the new online insurance marketplace. “Absolutely, you can,” said Maria Morris, a licensed social worker speaking on behalf of the Mississippi Primary Health Care Association (MPHCA). MPHCA members include the community health care centers around the state.

The second meeting held on February 6, was at the Jeff Davis County Courthouse and featured AARP Mississippi community outreach directors. The meeting was organized by community leader Mitchel Gamblin.

A man in the audience said his employer had just dropped the health care policy that covered him and his co-workers. He wanted to know could he get insurance that evening, and was able to speak directly with agents from Humana, the only www.healthcare.gov company licensed to insure residents of Jeff Davis County. Gamblin arranged for the Humana representatives to return to Jeff Davis County each Monday at  9:30 a.m. from now until March 31 when open enrollment closes. The agents will be available at that time to speak directly to interested persons and will be set up at the Jeff Davis County offices of the Miss. Dept. of Human Services, Family and Children Services, located on the service road west of the Town of Prentiss.

Anyone who does not have health insurance and is not on Medicaid must purchase insurance on the marketplace by March 31 or face tax penalties.