February 12, 2014
By Sara Gilgore
Ilene Wolf said she is shocked at the number of people she meets who don’t know about the new health care law.
“No matter who comes to my house or who I come in contact with, my first question is, ‘Do you have health insurance?’ ” said Wolf, who works with Organizing for Action to get residents signed up for the Affordable Care Act. “And most of them don’t.”
Wolf, with other grassroots organizations, appeared at a press conference Tuesday at the Mile Square Health Center as part of continued efforts to push Illinois residents to register in the next 48 days for health insurance.
As the March 31 open enrollment deadline draws closer, Get Covered America, Organizing for Action, and Health and Disability Advocates are among groups working to educate people about opportunities within the new law, including financial help to get coverage.
“It’s about talking to as many people as you can every day, and that’s what we’re doing,” said David Elin, state director for Enroll America, which launched the Get Covered America campaign.
People who fall within certain income brackets might be eligible for federal financial help, according to the state’s official online marketplace, Get Covered Illinois. Of the state’s enrollees, 73 percent have received financial assistance, Elin said. As of Dec. 31, the latest enrollment data released by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 61,111 had signed up for coverage in Illinois.
The Mile Square Health Center is part of the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System, and serves low-income people. Kameron Matthews, chief medical officer, gave her view of the new law’s impact on the state.
“They are able to see me on a regular basis, get the inexpensive, preventative services that are necessary for their health care …” Matthews said. “So, from a primary care provider’s perspective, the ACA has been extremely successful.”
Rogers Park resident Susan Danzig, 61, spoke about how certain provisions of the law, such as not being denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions, have affected her and her family. Her daughter started receiving coverage Feb. 1 under the ACA.
“Her invincible self recently had a wake-up call,” Danzig said about her daughter, who was able to buy more affordable medication for an eye infection under the new plan.