WRMC and Ind. Co. Health Unit Assist With Health Insurance Enrollment

East Entrance of White River Medical Center

Batesville, Ark.--On October 1, the Health Insurance Marketplace launched nationwide. The Health Insurance Marketplace is a new way for uninsured people to obtain quality health coverage and to find out if consumers can obtain lower costs for private insurance. Although shopping for health insurance can be overwhelming, it is important for people to make decisions with the right balance of health coverage needed that’s affordable.

The Arkansas Department of Health- Independence County Health Unit (ADH-ICHU) and White River Medical Center (WRMC) are teaming up to provide personalized assistance to people who need help enrolling in an insurance plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace. ADH-ICHU has four In-Person Assisters (IPAs) available to help residents of Independence, Cleburne, Stone, and Izard Counties. IPAs are trained and licensed to help determine a person’s eligibility for certain insurance plans and assist with enrollment. As a Certified Application Counselor Host Site, WRMC has one full time IPA from the health unit at the facility to help people enroll through Arkansas’ marketplace website www.arhealthconnector.org.

“I would like to encourage anyone that needs help with enrollment to contact us or the Independence County Health Unit to set up an appointment,” said Woody Castleberry, Managed Care Coordinator at WRMC. “The IPAs not only help people enroll, but explain each step thoroughly, so you know what coverage you are getting.”

Beginning in 2014, most people will be required to have health insurance or incur a penalty charge. The Marketplace allows people to compare rates, possibly getting lower costs on coverage. Plans offered in the Marketplace include essential health benefits such as doctor visits, preventative care, hospitalization, prescriptions and more. Additionally, consumers with pre-existing health conditions will not be denied coverage.

“Statistics show that more than 572,000 Arkansans are uninsured,” said Sonya Sheridan, IPA Administrative Support Supervisor with the ICHU. “Uninsured consumers have to be insured either through a plan on the Marketplace, by their employer, or through a private health insurance company”. ADH-ICHU also assists with Medicaid enrollment.

For consumers who enroll on or before December 15, coverage will begin January 1, 2014.Enrollment continues through March 31, 2014.

Medicare is not a part of the Health Insurance Marketplace; therefore those with Medicare are considered covered and do not have to make any changes. For more information on Medicare, consumers can contact the Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) toll free:800-224-6330 or visit http://www.insurance.arkansas.gov/shiip.htm.

In-Person Assisters are taking appointments at WRMC each day from 8:30-4:30. To set up an appointment call (870) 262-1351.

In-Person Assisters at the ICHU are taking appointments Monday-Friday from 8:00-3:00. To set up an appointment call (870) 793-8847, or your county health unit.