Jennifer Boykin said, “When they first come in, we’ll sit down with them and make sure they have a working email address”. And once they do we’ll set then up with a healthcare.gov account.”
Jennifer Boykin is with Insure Georgia, a non-profit, non-partisan group.
She and other navigators help Georgia residents obtain health insurance.
Millions of formerly uninsured Americans now have coverage, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
President Obama signed the ACA into law in 2010.
But not everyone is a fan.
In fact, President Trump promised to repeal the ACA, also known as “Obamacare”.
“Obamacare is a complete and total disaster”.
Recently I sat down with Melissa Camp, the director of Navigation for Insure Georgia, and with the vice-president of the South Carolina Hospital Association, Allan Stalvey.
I asked Mr. Stalvey how the controversial legislation is affecting the state’s hospitals.
“The vast majority of hospitals have been much better off because of the ACA.”
Stalvey says about 180 to 200 thousand people signed up for insurance in South Carolina through the exchange.
He says 70 percent of those people did not have insurance before.
Allan Stalvey said, “The one area we were disappointed in is that South Carolina did not expand Medicaid which would have covered another 200 thousand people or so.”Stalvey says The lack of Medicaid expansion, mainly in the south, helped to create a “coverage gap”.
Mary Morrison said, “The poorest people in the CSRA are eligible for Medicaid. But the “working poor” who get no subsidies are making below 100% of the federal poverty level. Most of them do not qualify for Medicaid and are left in what’s called the Medicaid gap.”
Without insurance, the sick often turn to the most expensive option.
Melissa Camp said, “That forces them back into the ER situation where we have spent hours trying to educate them that this is not where you go when you’re sick. You need to have a primary care physician but in some instances they can’t find one.”
Camp says some doctors complain about low reimbursement rates. Others don’t take any ACA plans at all.
Despite its imperfections, the affordable care act does mean more access to health care for millions of Americans who didn’t have it before.
Allan Stalvey says getting rid of it without replacing it, could trigger an even bigger problem.
Allan Stalvey said, “If there were not a replacement, we would see a health care crisis in this country”.
For all the law lacks, there are success stories.
Melissa Camp remembers the day she helped a critically ill woman in need of a new liver, find a way to get a life-saving procedure.
“After about six hours on the phone we finally identified a carrier that would cover all of her doctors and medication and she was able to get health insurance before she had the liver transplant so that she was financially sound.”
So what is the answer?
Melissa Camp said,
“If there is not a replacement, that is going to leave many, many people without health insurance.”
Allan Camp said, “Whatever they replace it with, it’s got to work. It can’t be this is a better plan because one party did it, or one president did it. It has to be something that helps all of the people.”
Stalvey says we should all contact our elected officials with our questions and concerns.
He also offers this suggestion.
Allan Stalvey said, “Take the providers, the hospitals, physicians, insurance industry and put us all in a room and tell us not to come out until we design a system that works for everybody.”
That idea might just be worth a try.
In Augusta, Mary Morrison WJBF News Channel six