Dialing in on Obamacare

October 10, 2013

Andy Pierron

Scioto County Health Coalition’s Andy Pierron provides information on locally scheduled information sessions covering the Affordable Care Act, next meeting is October 9th @ 6:30 pm.

As a pharmacist, much of the first decade of this century was spent educating as well as becoming educated with Medicare Part D. Prescription drug coverage under Medicare was new and different. It brought with it much concern, fear of the unknown and confusion. As a very accessible area of healthcare, pharmacists where inundated with questions. The profession, like many others, had to step up as educators of the general concept of the program, as well as provide information on the principals of each plan and how coverage varied between plans.

Now, for me, as a member of the Scioto County Health Coalition, a new chapter begins. And, I am learning about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the general concept of the program, the principles of the different plans, and the variables within each plan.

ACA, both affectionately and sarcastically referred to as “ObamaCare”, begins open enrollment next month. Currently, the wealth of information made available to the public provides an overview of the program and the general benefits ACA will offer, such as who will be eligible and how the different plans vary.

Sign up for the various plans within ACA will begin in October this year and end in March 2014. Approximately one in seven Ohio residents, and one in six Kentucky residents who are currently uninsured, will be newly eligible for health benefits.

Options will be available with different premiums, co pays, deductibles, and levels of coverage. However, variations will be limited by minimum standards required for insurance companies who participate. These standards do not allow insurance companies to turn down applicants based on preexisting conditions. The standards also require plans to offer outpatient care, emergency room services, hospitalization, maternity, new born and pediatric care, rehab, lab work, prescriptions, wellness, mental health and substance abuse services. These treatments will all be covered under each plan, no matter which option or level you choose.

More information is quickly becoming available as we move closer to the opening of the healthcare exchange. The healthcare exchange will make information available online, and online shopping of the different plans will available. The online shopping will allow consumers to more easily compare and contrast plan options. Assistance and support will also be available by calling 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325. For now, you may want to visit The Scioto County Health Coalition is also providing informational sessions at the SOMC Friends Center. The Coalition hopes to “plug in” navigators, assistance personnel, and certified application counselors, into these sessions. If you, or someone you know are becoming health navigators or certified application counselors, we invite you to

join us in assisting and educating our community on the new health insurance plan options. To volunteer, please call me at 740-355-7102, come to the SOMC Friends center ½ hour prior to our informational sessions, or attend one of the Scioto County Health Coalition meetings at 8:30 am on the second Friday of each month. Brokers and Agents are also welcomed. The next informational session is free and we invite everyone to join us at the SOMC Friends Center on October 9th, at 6:30 P.M. to learn more about the Affordable Care Act.

Andy Pierron, is the Director of Pharmacy Services and Workplace Wellness at Compass Community Health.