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Program to offer information on Affordable Health Care Act

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By Sandy Barnes

Evergreen resident Kathie Hart is coordinating a program on the Affordable Care Act to help people understand it more clearly.

“There is a lot of misinformation out there,” Hart said. “I was very concerned that there was so much.”

To give people a greater understanding of the federal legislation enacted last year, health professionals will discuss aspects of it on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at the Evergreen Fire/Rescue administration building in Bergen Park.

Lorez Meinhold, senior health analyst for Gov. John Hickenlooper, will speak about health care administration at the state level.

Silas Weir, a retired hospital administrator serving as facilitator for the program, says the program is designed to provide facts to people, whether they are pro-Obama or opposed to the legislation championed by the president.

“In both instances, we want to give you facts,” said Weir.

Weir calls the Affordable Care Act “a good beginning,” particularly in regard to health insurance regulations.

“The Affordable Health Care Act begins to address issues with chronic disease,” said Weir.

The act, which Congress approved last year and the Supreme Court recently upheld, places restrictions on heath insurers’ ability to cancel policies because of chronic disorders and pre-existing conditions.

The legislation, also known as “Obamacare,” requires citizens to have health insurance by the year 2014, or pay an assessment to the federal government. The law makes exceptions for people living below the poverty level, which is established by an individual income of $15,000 or less annually.

Other aspects of the act are preventive screenings at no cost, including mammograms for women, FDA-approved contraception and counseling on sexually transmitted diseases. Immunizations also will be provided for hepatitis A and B, flu, measles, tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough.

Another feature designed to benefit young adults is the ability for people under age 26 to remain on their parents’ health insurance policies.

Urgent care physician Paul Raford, who will be featured in a video presentation at the program, said that most doctors associated with the American Medical Association are in favor of the Affordable Care Act.

“There is universal recognition that the system is broken,” Raford said. “The Affordable Health Care Act already is having some pretty dramatic effects. … It’s a good start, in my opinion.”

Retired nurse Stephanie Krok said she is supportive of the pre-existing conditions limitations the act places on insurance companies. 

“I’ve been through that in my own personal life,” Krok said. “My daughter was turned down at age 21.”

Krok, who worked at National Jewish Health for more than 30 years, said she also sees great value in preventative care. 

The health exchanges in which people may participate also will help contain health insurance costs, Krok said. People who are young and healthy may be able to choose a lower form of coverage than others, she said.

With everyone required to have health insurance coverage, the cost of policies also should drop, she said.

“We all have car insurance,” said Krok. “Why can’t we have a law that says we have to have health insurance?

“To me, it’s the same thing. We’re paying for everybody anyway.”

The program will begin at 6 p.m. with presentations, followed by a question-and-answer session for those attending.

 

Contact reporter Sandy Barnes at  HYPERLINK "mailto:sandy@evergreenco.com" sandy@evergreenco.com or call 303-350-1042.