Char-Koosta News

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Learning about the Health Insurance Marketplace

RONAN — October 1 is a significant date in the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or what is commonly referred to as “Obamacare.” October 1 marks the beginning of open enrollment in health insurance marketplaces.

Why should this milestone be of concern to anyone with or without health insurance?

“That is just one of many questions that we hope we can answer at our upcoming education event,” says Debbie Kelsch, the manager of the business office at St. Luke Community Healthcare.

What Kelsch is referring to is a community education seminar on health insurance options and the marketplace that St. Luke Community Healthcare is offering free to the public on Monday, September 30. St. Luke has teamed with the PayneWest Insurance to provide information on how the Health Insurance Exchange or Marketplace will impact residents of the Mission Valley.

Kelsch says, “We are already getting calls asking about how the insurance marketplace will work. Questions such as ‘What kind of coverage will be available? How much will it cost? How do I enroll in the program? How does this affect me as a Tribal member?’

“By having a representative from PayneWest here, we hope that we will be able to help valley residents understand the changes that go into effect January 1, 2014,” Kelsch explains.

The Montana Health Insurance Marketplace is where Montanans can get private health insurance that is subsidized by the federal government. Open enrollment for acquiring insurance begins October 1. Consumers will have until December 15, to sign up if they want coverage to begin January 1, 2014. They will then have until March 31, 2014, to buy insurance if they want to avoid paying penalties for no insurance coverage.

“Everyone is affected on some level or another,” says Paul Soukup, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at St. Luke. “So it is important that they make plans to come and learn what their options are.”

Two sessions are being offered on Monday, September 30 at 5:30 p.m. and at 7 p.m. at the hospital in Ronan. To encourage area residents to come to the meeting, St. Luke will be giving complimentary full lipid panel certificates to attendees.

Kelsch says that if anyone has questions about the meeting that they can call her at 528-5270.

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