The Beacon News

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October 30, 2013

Health care marketplaces up and running in ND

Healthcare marketplaces have been open since the beginning of October and although applicants faced early challenges enrolling, the process is moving ahead.
As one of 32 states that opted to default to the federally-run exchange, uninsured and eligible North Dakotans go directly to the website to find a policy that best fits them.
Darrold Bertsch, CEO of Sakakawea Medical Center and Coal Country Community Health Center, said it could be prudent for those without insurance to wait a brief period.
“It’s still our mindset to encourage people to ‘hurry up and wait’ until the bugs get worked out,” Bertsch said. “You’ve got until Dec. 15 to enroll in a plan and be eligible Jan. 1.”
Although Dec. 15 is the deadline to enroll to receive coverage starting with the new year, open enrollment will continue until March 31. After that those not enrolled who remain uninsured will receive a penalty of $95 per adult, $47.50 per child, or one percent of their income.
Megan Dierks, the Outreach/Enrollment Specialist at CCCHC, went through specific training to walk people through the application process.
“It is fairly lengthy and some people might need guidance in using the computer or who don’t know about health insurance,” Dierks said.
Dierks position was made possible due to federal funding for community health centers. While she can work actively to provide information for people, she can only guide applicants to making an informed decision and not make the decision for them.
“We plan on utilitzing Megan in this position to assist people not just in Beulah, but in the surrounding area,” Bertsch said. “She’s here to help.”

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