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CCMH Offers Free Assistance as Health Insurance Exchanges Open


(Denison, IA) – Beginning October 1, 2013, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will open the state health insurance exchanges for business. Popularly known as “Obamacare”, the requirements of the act include an individual mandate to purchase health insurance if insurance is not available through an employer or other private purchase options.

To help people comply with Obamacare, Crawford County Memorial Hospital (CCMH) has been approved as a Certified Application Counselor (CAC) organization. Designated CCMH employees will receive training and certification as Certified Application Counselors to assist patients and their families in exploring options for coverage through the insurance exchange. Those wishing to arrange an appointment to meet with a counselor are encouraged to call 265‐2500.

“There has been a great deal of misinformation about Obamacare, the insurance exchange, and what people need to do to comply with the law”, said Bill Bruce, CEO and President of CCMH. Bruce went on to say the CCMH Certified Application Counselors will be able to provide factual and accurate information as people contemplate the best option for obtaining health insurance.

“Obamacare is available to all people including the uninsured. People will be looking for the best coverage at the lowest cost. We do not sell insurance but our counselors, at no cost, will be able to help people sort out the insurance exchange plans to find one that fits their needs and how income tax credits may help to cover the cost of the premiums,” Bruce stated.

A number of factors – such as pre‐existing conditions, health status, claims history, duration of coverage, gender, occupation, and small employer size and industry – will no longer be considered for those seeking health insurance through the exchange.

The CCMH Certified Application Counselors will also be able to assist small business owners who access the Small Business Health Options Programs (SHOP) and Purchasing Qualified Health Plans (QHPs). Small businesses employers with less than 100 employees (50 in some states) will be able to use the SHOP exchange. This is the small business section of the "ObamaCare" health insurance exchange. The SHOP exchange, or Small Business Health Options Programs, offer small businesses a large variety of Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) that allows employers and employees to choose insurance that meets their budgets.

How will the state insurance exchange affect Medicare and supplemental health insurance coverage? “The insurance exchange is designed to help people who don’t have any health insurance,” says Kris Gross from the state of Iowa’s Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP). Iowans on Medicare have health insurance through Medicare. The state insurance exchange won’t have any effect on Medicare coverage.

Generally, Iowans on Medicare should not make changes to their Medicare supplement coverage because of the state insurance exchanges. Gross says seniors should be wary of anyone who suggests changes to Medicare supplement coverage because of the insurance exchange and health reform. Seniors may want to change Medicare drug coverage or Medicare Advantage plan during the October 15‐December 7 annual open enrollment period because these plans can change premiums, cost sharing and drugs covered annually.

The mission of Crawford County Memorial Hospital is to provide efficient and effective health care services to all persons within Crawford County and the surrounding area. These services are available to persons who suffer from acute or chronic diseases, traumatic injuries, or who are in need of education and/or training in order to maintain a positive lifestyle.