Healthcare Coalition to help consumers with Affordable Care Act - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Healthcare Coalition to help consumers with Affordable Care Act

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act means sweeping changes in healthcare especially for those who have not been able to afford health insurance.
A statewide coalition is expanding its reach into Lake Charles to try to educate more people about what it all means. It's called the Louisiana Healthcare Education Coalition.

Brian Keller is senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana.

"The biggest changes in 50 years in the healthcare industry are getting ready to come upon us. Oct. 1, exchanges and market places are going to be opening up online and they are the most significant changes that have hit the healthcare industry in ages," said Keller.

So, how do people figure what it means for them? 

Keller suggests those without health insurance go talk to somebody knowledgeable before Oct. 1. He said they should be asking themselves, "Do I want health insurance if I don't have it, what's my opportunity to purchase it, what's it going to cost me? Ten-one is really when the light switch goes on. Everybody can see those exact plans, those exact rates. Shopping for health insurance is a lot more complicated than renting a hotel room or renting a car, so the federal government is training agents and brokers to be certified to sell these subsidy eligible products to make sure they're knowledgeable."

Keller said once the insurance marketplace is online, people will be able to get good, hard numbers for their situation. 

"I have a family of x. I have this amount of money. Am I eligible for financial help and, if so, what will it cost me to get Plan A, Plan B, Plan C? And they'll be able to look at details, hard numbers, and that all happens ten-one. So, the goal before ten-one is to get people to at least start thinking about what applies to me, what doesn't," said Keller.

The coalition also wants to educate on the need for healthcare access and the importance of taking care of one's personal wellness. Dr. Rodney Wise is the medical director for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana.

"When individuals are armed with the tools to invest in their own healthcare and wellness, the outcomes are measurable and meaningful. Healthy people stay healthier. Health-related behavior changes to reduce risk and those with chronic health conditions receive the right care at the right time," said Wise.

Coalition officials say more people than ever will qualify for free or low cost health insurance because of the new law.

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