Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Obamacare, on the ground in Arkansas: Enrollment Kickoff at Clinton School

Posted By on Tue, Oct 1, 2013 at 4:37 PM

click to enlarge OBAMACARE OPTIONS: Liz Davenport and her one-year-old son Logan get information from guide Britney Sidebottom. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • OBAMACARE OPTIONS: Liz Davenport and her one-year-old son Logan get information from guide Britney Sidebottom.

An open enrollment kickoff event hosted by the Arkansas Insurance Department at the Clinton School drew dozens of Arkansans this morning interested in information on the new Health Insurance Marketplace, which launched today. The event will continue through 7 p.m. tonight. 

Around 20 trained guides were on hand with laptops to show people options and walk them through the process of signing up for the plans. The federal website used to sign up was overwhelmed with traffic today and the guides had trouble logging on this morning. Instead, they answered general questions. In some cases, they helped consumers fill out paper applications. Many also set up appointments to meet with consumers later this week.

Despite the technical glitches, consumers were upbeat. Liz Davenport, a mother of two who currently has no income, said that although she was unable to enroll electronically this morning, she was glad she made the trip. The guide she spoke with "answered everything I was concerned about. I definitely will be signing up. I'm going to go home now and see if it will let me log on." 

Davenport has not had health insurance in ten years. She said that she has always been denied when she has attempted to apply for coverage in the past. She was worried that if she signed up for an Obamacare plan, she might lose ARKids coverage for her two children (she will not, the guide explained). She had initially thought that the new plans would just cover wellness visits and was thrilled to learn that they in fact would be full-coverage plans. She will likely qualify for a plan with zero premiums via the "private option."

"I was not aware that I was going to be able to get health care without having to pay a premium," she said. "I'm very excited. Not having health insurance, having to pay so much if I got sick. I won't have to suffer so long when I'm sick. And I won't have to make my kids suffer from me being sick, and not being able to take care of them."

Andre Martin, who currently works part time at a minimum-wage job said that he had never had health insurance in his adult life. He will also likely qualify for the "private option."  

"I've been healthy," Martin said. "I've been luckier than a lot of other Americans who haven't been healthy. It would feel better for me if I knew I had health insurance. Now that it is here, I'm going to take advantage of it because who knows, something could happen." He said he plans to sign up as soon as the system is up and running. "I hope everyone thinks it's a good thing for the country," he said. "Now people can start focusing on other things, not just worrying about health."

As an employee of the Little Rock School District, Maria Garcia is trying to figure out how to respond to the big premium hikes in the public school employee insurance system. She came to compare the plans available on the Marketplace after premiums doubled on her employee plan. While it's possible for consumers to shop on the Marketplace even if they're offered employer-sponsored insurance, they do not qualify for subsidies if the employer coverage is deemed affordable and sufficient under the law. Garcia said she was planning to find out more, but she was concerned that she would not be eligible for subsidies for the Marketplace despite the big rate hike in her employer plan. 

Joe and Darlene Okeke, parents of three, also came to compare the Marketplace plans to an employer plan, in this case through Darlene's job as a nurse (Joe is a small businessman). They are going to re-connect with the guide they met today once the system is back up and running. "Everybody is going to get insurance, that is a major deal," Darlene said. Joe added, "Irrespective of pre-existing conditions. You can't beat that!" 

Josh Visnaw, a second-year student at the Clinton School, said that he has been uninsured for more than a year. He is Type 1 diabetic and has been unable to find affordable health insurance on the private market. He came to find out about what level of subsidies he would be eligible for on the Marketplace. He said that he has been looking forward to January 1, when coverage will start under Obamacare. "I've been cautiously optimistic," he said. 

Tags: , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store


Speaking of...

Comments (10)

Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-10 of 10

Add a comment

More by David Ramsey

Readers also liked…

  • FOI lawsuit filed for State Police firing records on ABC enforcement boss Boyce Hamlet

    Russell Racop has filed, as promised, his lawsuit over the State Police's refusal — under guidance from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge — to release records that provide information that led to the firing of current Alcoholic Beverage Control Enforcement Director Boyce Hamlet as a state trooper.
    • Sep 9, 2015
  • A response to police arrests becomes a tutorial on race, class and policing in Little Rock

    John Walker, the 79-year-old civil rights lawyer, and his associate, Omavi Shukur, 29, a young lawyer devoted to criminal justice reform, talked to press this afternoon about their arrests Monday by Little Rock police for supposedly obstructing governmental operations in observing and attempting to film a routine police traffic stop. It was a tutorial on sharp views of race, class and governance in Little Rock.
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • Transgender electrician may sue employer over her firing

    Federal Judge Susan Webber Wright has ruled that Patricia Dawson, a transgender woman, may pursue her lawsuit that she was wrongfully fired by her employer, H & H Electric, because of her sex.
    • Sep 16, 2015

Most Shared

  • Workers stiffed

    How is it going with the great experiment to make the Republican Party the champion of the sons and daughters of toil instead of the oligarchs of wealth and business?
  • Former state board of education chair Sam Ledbetter weighs in on Little Rock millage vote

    Ledbetter, the former state Board of Education chair who cast the decisive vote in 2015 to take over the LRSD, writes that Education Commissioner Johnny Key "has shown time and again that he is out of touch with our community and the needs of the district." However, Ledbetter supports the May 9 vote as a positive for the district's students and staff.
  • O'Reilly's fall

    Whom the gods would destroy, they first make TV stars.

Visit Arkansas

Fishing the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Fishing the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Arkansas angler and fishing expert Billy Murray shares his extensive knowledge of the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Finally. Friday.

    • The first post from Margaret and Helen in months-- "The rest of the country woke…

    • on April 29, 2017
  • Re: Jonesboro: Do you know your anchorman?

    • Craig Rickert was a great broadcaster. I would love to see him on Fox, he…

    • on April 29, 2017
  • Re: Trump's inhumane plans on immigration and refugees

    • WOW..My name is Patricia Harold from Ohio United State..Mr Dikcons intelligent blank ATM cards Which…

    • on April 29, 2017




© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation