Dodge City Daily Globe
Most Dodge City residents won't need to worry about enrolling for health insurance under the provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act, but for those who do there's help available at this Saturday's Victory Electric Community Health Fair at the Expo Center.
And just as important, help will be available on a long-term basis at Western Plains Medical Complex from certified application counselors.
"There are not a lot of people in our service area that need health insurance," said Michael R. Burroughs, the chief executive officer at Western Plains. "The Affordable Health Care Act will not have a lot of effect here."
The low percentage of unemployment and the insurance plans available from most local employers are the reason Dodge finds itself such an exception to the nationwide norm, Burroughs explained. Still, Western Plains wants to be a resource for those area residents who do need health care insurance under the provisions of the act.
The hospital does not provide insurance itself, but it does work closely with the two insurance companies that have been approved to offer plans in Kansas for the uninsured. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas ( HYPERLINK "http://www.bcbs.com"www.bcbs.com) and Coventry Health Care ( HYPERLINK "http://www.chckansas.coventryhealthcare.com"www.chckansas.coventryhealthcare.com) are well-known providers.
Burroughs will be presenting "Navigating Health Insurance Marketplaces" at 10 a.m. at the Health Care Fair at the Western State Bank Expo Center. The presentation — one of several schedule for the day — will last about a half-hour. In addition, Western Plains will have materials to hand out that provide phone numbers, web addresses and additional information to help guide residents through the process.
"If they don't have insurance, we can facilitate them to find insurance," Burroughs said. "Our role at the health fair is just to make sure they know we are a resource."
That will be important because a number of questions remain about the Affordable Care Act and insurers are still developing plans to meet the needs of customers and the requirements of the act.
"There are a lot more questions than there are answers at the moment," Burroughs noted. "What happens on Capitol Hill is part of it, but insurance companies are still working on it too. It's a work in progress."
Plan prices, levels of coverage and other options will be specific to each company and to each plan offered.
"It will be set by plan and will be competitive with the (current) marketplace," he noted. "Everyone will be able to choose what level of coverage they want."
Residents will have plenty of time to consider the many options that will be available. Enrollment opened on Oct. 1, but the first deadline to sign up is the end of March 2014.
Page 2 of 2 - For more information, visit HYPERLINK "http://www.westernplainsmc.com"www.westernplainsmc.com or HYPERLINK "http://www.healthcare.gov"www.healthcare.gov. You can also find out more by e-mailing HYPERLINK "mailto:email@example.com"firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1-888-982-9144.