PCC Community Wellness Center spreads the world about health insurance program

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The PCC Community Wellness Center is preparing for big changes as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – also known as Obamacare – set to kick in Jan. 1.

Many communities within PCC’s service area, including the Austin site at 5425 W, Lake St., are designated by the U.S. Department of Health Resources Service Administration as Medically Underserved Areas.

With the promise to deliver health care to anyone regardless of their ability to pay, PCC cares for a high number of uninsured individuals, most of whom are at increased risk of illness and disability.

PCC expects that many of its uninsured patients will qualify for insurance offered within the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace, a state-run web portal that will connect individuals with health insurance options and resources.

Already, PCC has been participating in CountyCare enrollment. This county-wide initiative permitted Cook County Health and Hospital Systems to enroll eligible residents in Medicaid this year.

But beginning this fall, PCC will transition to state and federal-led protocols to enroll eligible individuals into qualified health plans. Open enrollment for the insurance marketplace will begin in less than a month – Oct. 1 – and will continue through March 31, 2014.

During this time, uninsured individuals in Austin and the rest of the country will be eligible to enroll in health coverage that will provide more choices and better access to quality health care.

In an effort to promote the new state program, PCC is reaching out to help educate consumers about whether they’re eligible and how to enroll.

In July, PCC was awarded a $149,695 supplemental grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that will be used to support these efforts.

“This initiative will greatly increase access to care. Additional preventative care most importantly helps keep patients healthy and in turn, reduces future expenses on the health system,” Lynn Hopkins, chief operating officer at PCC, said in a statement.

In the coming year, PCC representatives will be providing support to community members on the West Side at community agencies, churches, schools, etc.

For more information, please contact Toni Bush at 708-524-7687 or tbush@pccwellness.org.

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