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Nikki Bagby, the outreach supervisor for Medicaid and CHIP for United Health Care Community Plan, talks about the common misconceptions involving the two health care services.—TRIBUNE PHOTO & ARTICLE BY NATHANIEL LEE
With so much talk about the upcoming Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, members of the National Advisory Council (NAC) of the Partnership CDC, located in West Philadelphia, decided it was time to answer questions constituents might have about the plan.
To do this, the NAC convened a Health Awareness Community Meeting at White Rock Baptist Church, where several panelists discussed important topics such as Medicaid and CHIP eligibility, Obamacare and other health issues affecting residents.
“What happened here today was that folks got some really good information about the new Affordable Health Care Act which is coming in and how to navigate that system and how to start using that insurance,” said Leon Robinson, Coordinator for the Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC) for the Partnership CDC. “Our job here at the NAC office is to make sure that people get that information and get that insurance with no hassle.”
Robinson said the mission of the Partnership CDC / NAC is to go out into the community and find out what was needed for the residents there. Health care was a common concern and the health awareness community meeting was organized to address that concern.
Nikki Bagby is the Outreach Supervisor for Medicaid and CHIP for United Health Care Community Plan, spoke to the small gathering about common misconceptions involving the two health care services.
“It’s important that people get information because they just don’t know what their services are and how they could benefit from them,” she said.
Bagby said even though the Affordable Care Act will create future changes, people need to know what was available to them now.
“Presently there are approximately 150,000 children uninsured in Pennsylvania, about 33,000 of them are in Philadelphia, so its important that we let parents know that their children can be covered,” Bagby said.
One of the biggest misconceptions about Medicaid insurance and the CHIP program is that people believe there is an income cap for eligibility, according to Bagby.
Of the thousands of uninsured children living in the county, Bagby said a majority of them are African American.
Bagby talked of a client who made over $150,000 annually, but was able to get medical insurance for his children because his monthly payment was $5,000 a month.
“There is a difference [between Medicaid and CHIP],” she said. “We have to let people know that there is a difference. Medicaid is mandated by the Dept. of Welfare, CHIP is mandated by the Dept. of Insurance and for CHIP there is no income limit to how much you make to apply for the program.”
Ann Bacharach is the special projects director of the PA Health Law Project, a legal services entity which specializes in Medicaid, CHIP and the Affordable Health Care Act.
She shared with attendants some of the specific details about Obamacare and how it will likely change health care for the average U.S. citizen.
“The Affordable Care Act is really going to provide insurance for a lot of people who were not
able to get it before,” Bacharach said.
According to information released by the Pennsylvania Health Law Project, anyone can apply for coverage as long as they are living in the United States and are in the country legally.
Residents can begin applying for coverage as early as October 1. Coverage can begin as soon as January 1, 2014.
For more information about applying for coverage or to assess the variety of medical plans being offered, you can go to: http://www.healthcare.gov or call them at 1 (800) 318-2596.
For information about Medicaid or CHIP contact Nikki Bagby, United Healthcare Medicaid/CHIP Outreach Supervisor at (267) 357-7621.