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October 11, 2013

Published October 9, 2014 in Duncan OK Banner.

MILLIONS ENROLLED IN ACA!
Healthcare for all was a major part of the 2008 election, won by Barack Obama. The U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate passed Public Law 111-148. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law by the President and upheld by the United States Supreme Court. The legitimacy of the law was argued in the 2012 election cycle and was upheld, along with re-election of President Barack Obama and a gain of Democratic seats in the House and Senate.

Those that belabor the fact of “glitches,” long waits on the phone and any other less than perfect outcome when contacting an insurance marketplace operated by the federal government, fail to also proclaim that it was in large part because 36 states left it up to the federal government to run marketplaces for their citizens. Remember, 26 of these states refused to initiate an expanded Medicaid program which only added to the problem. As one MSNBC commentator said, “7 million individuals, contacting the federal exchange in one day, was comparable to the amount of calls that ALL of America’s airlines handle in ONE WEEK! Have you never waited- online – to make reservations?

The abundance of calls to both state and federal marketplaces in the past week is just what the Republicans fear. PEOPLE WANT AFFORDABLE HEALTH INSURANCE! Unfortunately, our obstinate governor and Republican-lead majority in our legislature still keep their heads “buried in the sand.” To Sean Murphy (AP) in the Enid News and Eagle, Governor Fallin’s response to the number of people looking for AFFORDABLE insurance was, “We’re still waiting today to see how it all works out.” The governor still fails to recognize the gap between those that are eligible, and those that do not qualify, for insurance in the marketplace. There are 10’s of thousands of Oklahomans who do not qualify! Many do not qualify for “Insure Oklahoma” because they cannot meet the work requirements. Others do not qualify for “Sooner Care” because they are adults. Many more will not qualify since Expanded Medicaid was to be their insurer!

For those who have not visited an insurance marketplace yet, you have until March 31, 2014 to sign up for a health plan and escape a penalty. However, if you want your insurance to start on January 1, 2014, you need to pick a plan and enroll with your selected insurer no later than December 15, 2013. Remember, when you enroll, you will pay your first monthly premium on January 1, 2014.

Because Oklahoma declined Federal Public Law 111-148, this state does not have access to either of the fully-trained and audited-for-quality-control “Navigators,” i.e., Oklahoma Community Health Centers, Inc. or Little Dixie Community Action Agency, Inc. Instead, you will need to visit the federally-run marketplace either on line or by telephone at
1-800-318-2596. If your native language is neither English nor Spanish, please tell the operator answering your call and an interpreter will be furnished at no cost. For TTY users, call 1-855-889-4325.

Information you will need to have – when you go on line to healthcare.gov – to enroll in the marketplace: (1) Social Security Number (or documentation number if a legal immigrant); (2) Employer and income information for each member of your household (pay stubs or W2 forms); and (3) A completed Employee Coverage Tool (page 2 of the checklist) for every job-based plan for which you or someone in your household is eligible. (You will need to fill out this form even for employer coverage you’re eligible for but not enrolled in.)

Logically, since so many Oklahomans are, at least, investigating to determine if they qualify for ACA assistance to pay premiums for health coverage, should not those in government in Oklahoma City act responsibly by endorsing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148) in its entirety and expanding Medicaid??

Kenneth Wells, SCDP Information Officer,

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