Walworth County committee helps locals with Affordable Care Act registration

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Andrea Anderson
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

ELKHORN--A local committee is helping residents weed through the Health Insurance Marketplace to make an informed decision before the extended deadline to enroll in insurance through HealthCare.gov passes.  

The Walworth County Affordable Care Act Awareness Steering Committee is hosting its next information session at the Walworth County Government Center at 11 a.m. Friday for individuals interested in learning more about the Affordable Care Act and the Health Insurance Marketplace.

The information sessions are for people who live or work in Walworth County, are uninsured or under-insured, or have unaffordable health insurance.

The committee, comprised of about 40 volunteers from entities such as Open Arms Free Clinic, Gateway Technical College and UW Extension will cover changes to BadgerCare, what the marketplace is and how to apply for it, and any other questions participants might have.  

Dr. Katherine Gaulke, committee chairwoman, will lead the information session Friday and encourages anyone with questions to attend.

“There is a lot of misinformation and so much rhetoric and non-truth, and the goal is to take down those stigmas and explain to people what it means for them,” Gaulke said.

Gaulke has spoken at sessions with as many as 60 people in attendance and answered all types of questions and corrected several misconceptions.

Some of those misconceptions include Medicare recipients needing to apply for HealthCare.gov and the idea that people can avoid penalties for not having health insurance.

The most important myth to debunk, Gaulke said, is that individuals on the state's Health Insurance Risk Sharing Plan, or HIRSP, do not need to worry about enrolling by the Dec. 23 deadline because their coverage could be extended through April. 

“If you are a person on a HIRSP plan, even though you are hearing that it might be extended, it is in your best interest to apply because you will have two deductibles in April,” Gaulke said.

Those who enroll by Dec. 23 for a Jan. 1 effective date will have one deductible. Those who wait will have two: one for extended HIRSP coverage through March 31, and another for the new coverage from April 1 through December 31.

The committee also is hosting a marketplace insurance fair at Badger High School in Lake Geneva from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18.

Representatives from six Walworth County insurance companies on HealthCare.gov will be present to answer questions about insurance options.

At both the information sessions and the insurance fair, committee members will answer questions and provide tips on how to accurately complete the application.

The committee also assists people in signing up for marketplace insurance Thursday nights and select Saturdays at Badger High School.   

Last updated: 3:22 pm Tuesday, December 17, 2013

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