The Moniteau County Democrat Club met Thursday evening at California City Hall. The speaker was John Orear, an independent insurance agent from Jefferson City. Orear did an excellent job in explaining the Affordable Health Care Act. He outlined the many advantages that the Act will introduce to individuals or families that haven't been able to
have health insurance in the past due to cost. Some parts of the Act have been in place for many months such as a child who is under 26 and in college can stay on their parent's plan. There were a number of comments about the fact that an individual could no longer be denied coverage because of a preexisting condition. In the past denial of coverage was assured. Treatment for mental illness was nonexistent or
very limited in health insurance policies however it will now be covered. There is strong emphasis in the Act for illness prevention like yearly health exams for all. When questioned about Medicare, Orear advised that for persons on Medicare they would not need to do anything. Medicare will not change except there will be expanded preventive services like wellness exams and mammograms at no cost. Also the so called "donut hole" in the prescription drug program has
There are approximately 800,000 Missourians without health insurance. About half of them will qualify for subsidized insurance from the insurance exchanges. Others would gain health insurance through Medicaid when the Missouri General Assembly expands the program. These low-income families get access to this coverage as the Federal Government picks up most of the cost. He stressed that Oct. 1 kicks off the sign up for eligible individuals through the insurance exchanges. The window of opportunity lasts until March 31. If you do not sign up during that period you will have to wait until fall.
There are a number of ways to sign up. First there is the web site where you can sign up on line. The website is www.healthcare.gov, however one of the down sides is you will have to read through a large number of plans and then choose one. This may be confusing. You can call 1-800-318-2596 and talk with a person who can help you navigate the
system. As the insurance plans are from private insurance companies you can consult with a number of authorized insurance agents at no cost to you for help in selecting a health insurance program. Orear concluded by stressing he felt if the public could stay away from politics and weigh the program just on its merits one would be pleased with the outcome.