Home News Afro Briefs Originally published December 18, 2013

Under the Affordable Care Act, Uninsured Marylanders Gain Health Care Coverage

by AFRO Staff

    Denise Roberts claps her hands with joy at the news that she now has health insurance. (Courtesy Photo)
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As the Dec. 27 deadline is looming for all who want health coverage, effective Jan. 1, 2014, the Maryland health officials and its team of certified navigators are stepping up their efforts to reach those still in need of insurance.

Navigators are persons trained and certified by the state to help consumers enroll in extended Medicaid, the state insurance plan for the low income or into private health insurance plans called Qualified Health Plans. To best reach consumer’s enrollment events are held in different communities throughout the state.

Certified navigators from Chatman, LLC were recently in Randallstown to educate Maryland residents on the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), answer their questions, and enroll them in health insurance through the Maryland Health Connection. One very pleased consumer was Denise Roberts, a 47-year-old day care teacher who lives in Baltimore and works at the Excellent Start Learning Center in Windsor Mill. She is one of the many workers in the state who are employed but uninsured.

“It’s been a while since I’ve had health insurance,” said Roberts. Although she has spent the last 10 years in the childcare industry, her $23,000 annual income means she is earning too much to qualify for Medicaid and too little to afford high-priced health insurance from private firms that charge up to $800 per month for a woman in this age group.

“These are the very people we want to reach and enroll into the Qualified Health Plans made available through the Maryland Health Connection,” said Priscilla Chatman, a certified navigator and president of Chatman, LLC. The childcare worker was one of the many who showed up Dec. 14 and successfully enrolled in a qualified health plan with an advanced premium tax credit of $149. This is very similar to the child tax credit many are familiar with.

What’s more, Roberts qualified for a cost-sharing reduction of 73 percent. This means when she receives medical treatment, she will only have to pay 27 percent of the cost. If the medical bill is $100, Ms. Roberts will pay $27.

The certified navigator who guided her through the enrollment process was “very helpful to me in this process. He answered all of my questions, and explained everything so I understood,” said Roberts. “I don’t get sick often, but when I did, I had to pay out of pocket for it. Now, I’m just very excited to have health insurance,”

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