But for those who need to sign up for the government-plan insurance, the date to begin to move is actually in a few short weeks.
Individuals who are opting for the government-subsidized option can
begin the process in October. If they do not have a plan in place by
January, they will be taxed. That amount is estimated to be 3 percent of
a person's annual income prorated every month.
For a number of people, though, especially those with chronic health issues or pre-existing conditions, the impact of the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare) is significant—they will finally be able to get health care coverage.
But the changes also apply to those with private insurance who were able to get plans previously and even those who have active plans in place. The private insurance companies are impacted by Obamacare and must change the plans they offer to something called a (metallic) plan. Those plans are gold, silver, etc. and are consistent across the different companies. What is not consistent, though, is how each private insurance company handles the change and the cost impact to consumers.Navigating the somewhat complicated logistics of implementing the plan is where OHI (Ocean Health Initiatives), a federally-qualified health care center with locations in Lakewood, Toms River, and Manahawkin, comes in.
OHI has established a Health Exchange Marketplace Department to assist the public in understanding information about affordable health insurance coverage in advance of the Affordable Care Act, which begins on Jan. 1, 2014.
The department is now made up of Beatriz C. Patino, of Brick, the coordinator of the Health Exchange Marketplace, and Carmen E. Lopez, Neptune City, an associate, who will also answer questions and explain any changes. Additionally, they will help individuals sign up for health insurances during the open enrollment period, October through March, and determine what plans would be best for individual situations.
"So many people still don't know that this is happening ... so we are trying to give out this information so they can be prepared for this," Patino told Patch in an interview. Patino said that in Ocean County alone, there are about 43,000 under- or uninsured people.
To quality, individuals must have a Social Security number, be a U.S. citizen and individuals have to prove they legally live in the United States. Other information that is needed centers on household income.
Both Patino and Lopez, who are bilingual, can be reached in the Health Exchange Marketplace Department, Lakewood, at 732-363-6655. They will also assist the public at Toms River and Manahawkin sites, and will be available at many outreach events.
Patino, who just joined the OHI last month as part of the recently-established program, has served as a community health worker in the Central Jersey Health Consortium, Lakewood and North Brunswick. There she performed community outreach for such groups as the VNA, WIC, Womens Wellness Centers, hospital clinics, OBGYN offices, and several resource centers. Patino earned a B.A. in political science from Kean University in 2005 and anticipates earning her Masters of Social Work Clinical Practice with Families and Children in 2016 from Kean University.
Lopez, a certified medical assistant (CMA), has had wide experience in a multi-physician medical practice and in hospital settings. Before joining the Health Exchange Marketplace, Lopez worked as a CMA at Loyal Source Government Services, Fort McGuire Air Force Base, and at the N.J. Urological Institute, formerly Shore Urology, Eatontown.
OHI is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) federally qualified health center (FQHC) with locations at 101 Second Street, Lakewood; and 301 Lakehurst Road, Toms River; and 333 Haywood Road, Manahawkin; and in the Clifton Avenue Elementary School, 625 Clifton Avenue, Lakewood; and the Mobile Medical Unit outside the George J. Mitchell Elementary School, 950 N. Green Street, Little Egg Harbor.
OHI services include pediatrics, maternal and child health, prenatal, WIC, universal immunizations behavioral health, dental, family medicine, internal medicine, OB/GYN, podiatry and social services.
To become a patient of OHI, call a representative in the Call Center at either 732-552-0377, Toms River, or 732-363-6655, Lakewood. Visit www.ohinj.org. for further information.
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