OSF St. Anthony offers free help with the Affordable Care Act - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

OSF St. Anthony offers free help with the Affordable Care Act

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ROCKFORD (WREX) -

There are nearly 40,000 people in Winnebago County living without health insurance. Of those searching for a plan, the task is daunting. But you don't have to complete the application process alone.

Jane Thornton is set to start under a new insurance plan in January. Due to her current health, she predicts her premium will be high.  "I figured that I would be paying around $450 a month," she says.  

When she heard OSF St. Anthony Hospital was offering to help people like her learn more about the health care market place, she decided to stop by.  "I thought I would come in and see if I would be eligible for insurance through the affordable care act."

As it turns out, she does. Because of her income, she could expect to receive nearly $500 in credit each month, meaning her premium would be zero.  "And my out of pocket would be, I think, $1250 per year," says Thornton.   

She was able to come to that conclusion with help from Serina Starnes, a Financial Navigator for OSF St. Anthony.  

Starnes has helped educate dozens about the government website for the Affordable Care Act, making a complicated process, easier.

"Because the marketplace websites aren't working right now, a lot of people have questions about the plans. They want to know what kind of coverage is actually going to be available to me," says Starnes.  

In Illinois, six providers will be used under the act.     

"There's Aetna, Humana, Blue Cross Blue Shield. There's Healthcare Alliance, Land of Lincoln, and Coventry," says Starnes. "Within those plans, there will be different levels of coverage: a 90/10 platinum plan, a gold plan with 80/20 coverage, a silver plan, which is a 70/30, and a bronze plan which is 60/40."

Each of these plans have ten essential health care benefits built in, including hospitalizations, prescriptions, pregnancy, and newborn care.  

Not everyone needs to go through the Affordable Care Act to get health insurance. A new state law means anyone between the ages of 19 and 64 may be eligible for Medicaid, depending on their income.

The deadline to enroll with the Affordable Care act is March 31. After that date, if you still don't have health insurance, $95 will be taken out of your tax returns, or 1 percent of your total income, whichever is greatest.

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