Dialing In on Obamacare

December 10, 2013

Andy Pierron BSPharm R.Ph. Director of Pharmacy Services Compass Community Health

In the 1978 comedy film “Animal House”, actor Kevin Bacon’s famous character calls out “Remain Calm, All is Well”, as his rival fraternity unleashes a barrage of pranks terrifying the crowd gathered for a community parade.

As a member of the Scioto County Health Coalition, my role of organizing and providing structured instructions for enrollment in the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) has, at times, felt to me like Kevin Bacon’s character.

However, I will hold true to my position that the website will continue to function better and that security breaches will affect less than one tenth of 1% (i.e. less than 1 in 1000) of those who use the site. Any security breech is serious. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act now require self reporting of security breaches of healthcare entities for this very reason. And remember, if you prefer, you can always call 1-866-820-1185 to speak to a navigator, ask questions or sign up for a plan.

If healthcare benefits through an employer are not available and Medicaid or Medicare is not an option, then healthcare plans offered under the act should be considered. Healthcare providers and the overall healthcare industry provide exceptional quality and life saving care. The cost of care is growing at a ridiculous pace (some years increasing at a pace of almost double the rate of inflation) due to employment, facility, liability, and administrative cost. We should remember as well, these costs not only reflect post graduate costs, but the cost of educating the healthcare workforce as well.

Wellness and preventative care should be a goal for each of us, as the rate of increase is much more of the gross domestic product than it should be. This drag on our economy compromises our country’s ability to compete globally. Wellness and preventative care are now required on all plans which are part of the Affordable Care Act.

Republicans and Democrats know drastic measures must happen and of course the ugly side of politics takes over, as each try to come out without too much egg on their face. As we look at best practices and what most benefits ourselves, our families, and our community, we need to recognize our responsibility to participate in healthcare plans designed to lower costs. A prime example of how this might affect us is found in car insurance. The more people who don’t enroll drive the costs up for those who do have insurance. With the new health insurance structure, many of us will be eligible for tax credits which can be used “upfront” in paying for the cost of the plan and others will be eligible for Medicaid, especially as Medicaid expansion takes place.

The Southern Ohio Health Coalition is providing monthly information sessions regarding the Affordable Care Act. All of these sessions are being held at Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Friends Center complements of SOMC. The next session is Monday December 9th at 6:30 PM. Pike County Community Action will bring navigators trained to assist and enroll citizens in plans. Southern Ohio Medical Center also has counselors who can help. Many insurance agents are now licensed brokers of the plans as well. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Everyone is a little confused. The system does have its problems, but the more we pursue and learn, the more we help ourselves, our families, and our community.