I am excited to inform you that the Health Department will be playing a key role in enrolling eligible

residents into health insurance options available under the Affordable Care Act.

      The Department and

the Alliance for Human Services have been awarded an $800,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Public Health to launch Enroll Lake County!, a countywide initiative to increase access to healthcare for Lake County residents.

      The Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010, introduces key components starting Jan. 1, 2014 that will give individuals more choices and more control over their health insurance coverage.

      This includes expansion of insurance coverage to all adults, free preventive care, parity of mental health and medical coverage, and no insurance denials for those with pre-existing conditions.

      On Oct. 1, 2013 uninsured individuals can begin to make choices of what level of insurance coverage they would like through a Health Insurance Marketplace. The enroll process ends six months later on March 31, 2014.

      The Health Department, the Alliance and partners are going to be busy informing residents about their options and helping them enroll. Outreach workers, hired through the grant, will help consumers understand coverage options, determine eligibility and enroll in new affordable health insurance options. We will also provide unbiased information to consumers about health insurance, qualified health plans, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and the Health Insurance Marketplace.

      Enroll Lake County’s target population is all Lake County consumers eligible to enroll for qualified health plans, tax credits, and cost-sharing reductions, or Medicaid. An estimated 71,536 Lake County adults are uninsured, according to Illinois Health Matters, a collaborative of state health policy and community-based organizations. Of these, 21,339 are non-citizens who do not qualify for health insurance coverageunder the federal law. Enroll Lake County! is targeting five areas within the county with strategies to enroll approximately 18,000 people.

      Under the leadership of LCHD/CHC and the Alliance, Enroll Lake County! includes 27 community-based organizations, faith and civic groups, library networks, schools, business representatives, hospitals and primary care providers. It includes 15 in-person counselor partners who will receive subcontracted funds from the grant.

      The partners include A Safe Place, Antioch Area Healthcare Accessibility Alliance, The Alliance for Human Services, Arden Shore Child and Family Services, Catholic Charities, Crew, Inc., Family Service: Prevention, Education and Counseling, HealthReach, Inc., Illinois Public Interest Research, Lake County Center for Independent Living, Nicasa, Rosalind Franklin University Health System, Waukegan Public Library, YouthBuild Lake County, and Youth Conservation Corps.

      The consortium also includes seven community-based organizations that will serve as awareness and referral partners.

      These organizations will not receive grant funds, but will conduct awareness campaigns, refer interested individuals to in-person counselor services and make their facilities available for public activities. These organizations include Community Health Partnership of Illinois, EdlerCARE@ChristChurch, Love INC of Lake County, Moraine Township, PADS Lake County, Zion-Benton Public Library, and Zion Township.

      Put simply, people without health insurance are less healthy and die younger than those with coverage. Through this grant, we have a unique opportunity to reach the uninsured in our communities and help connect them with the benefits of health insurance coverage under the new health care law.

      Follow the Health Department on Facebook (www.facebook.com/healthdepartment) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/lakecohealth) to keep up to date on local activities. You can also visit the Health Department’s web site at http://health.lakecountyil.gov/Primary/Pages/AffordableCareAct.aspx .

~ Tony Beltran

Executive Director Lake County Health Departmen

Community Health

 
 

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