Local residents form Affordable Care Act committee
In Nacogdoches County, there are an estimated 14,000 residents that are not insured. Approximately half are within 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. Yet many of these eligible residents have not signed up for benefits for which they are eligible under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Clay Farell, chief operating officer of Nacogdoches Medical Center, Chris Loumeau, administrative resident of Nacogdoches Medical Center, Darla O’ Neill, East Texas Community Health Services, and Gary Lee Ashcraft, CEO of Nacogdoches County United Way, have been working to put together a successful committee to help the residents of Nacogdoches get health insurance.
“We started the Affordable Care Act Community Outreach and Enrollment committee because our efforts to reach out, educate and ultimately enroll the uninsured in Nacogdoches fell short during last year’s open enrollment period,” said Loumeau. “We wanted to reboot and try a different tactic this year. So I reached out to various entities in town who share our common desire to get the underinsured and uninsured educated about the ACA health insurance exchange plans and help them enroll.”
The ACA committee would like all Nacogdoches residents to become more informed about the uninsured population and what the committee is going to do to help the uninsured residents. One objective of the committee will be to provide a Spanish-speaking counselor to explain the process of buying insurance.“We’ll also have a better head start by having an outreach enrollment centeralready set up and staffed to help people enroll,” O’Neill said.
Open enrollment began Nov. 15, 2014, and will end Feb. 15, 2015. To have benefits by Jan. 1, residents must complete the application by Dec. 15, 2014. Applications can be completed online, by telephone or by completing a paper application. Online applications are available at www.healthcare. gov or by calling 1-800-3182596. The committee encourages everyone to share this information with neighbors, family and friends. For more information, contact Loumeau at 936-568-3403 or email Christopher. Loumeau@tenethealth. com.