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If you’re worried about the Oct. 1 start of the Affordable Health Care Act — often called Obamacare — and how it may influence you, don’t be.
To begin with, people who don’t have health insurance and now have to get some because of the national law have until March 31, 2014, to enroll to avoid a fine, according to the U.S. Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services. However, if you want to have coverage by Jan. 1, 2014, you will have to enroll earlier.
Those who have existing plans with their employment don’t have to worry, but they can opt for different health care plans. However, if you apply for a healthcare plan through the new system, your employer does not have to help pay the premiums.
Applying for health care under the new law can be done for free online, by mail, or in-person with a patient navigator.
The Eastern Missouri Health Services clinics in Louisiana and Bowling Green operated by Pike County Memorial Hospital (PCMH) have those navigators.
They have been provided by Primaris, a healthcare quality firm from Columbia.
The navigators will help patients choose which plans they want and at what price.
To contact one of the PCMH clinics’ navigators or to learn more, call the Louisiana location at 573-754-4584, or 573-324-5300 for the Bowling Green facility.
There is also plenty of easy-to-read information about the new health care program at www.healthcare.gov.