VNA Health to help local residents with Affordable Care Act
By Janelle Walker For Sun-Times Media September 30, 2013 9:04PM
Updated: November 2, 2013 6:31AM
VNA Health, with offices in Elgin and Aurora, is set to help area residents navigate the new Affordable Care Act, which will create insurance exchanges and other new programs in Illinois to help its 1.5 million uninsured residents find coverage.
VNA Health Care is the recipient of three grants to help people enroll in Medicaid or obtain insurance through the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace, whichever is appropriate.
As a grant recipient, VNA is charged with educating the public about and providing fair and impartial information concerning Medicaid eligibility and qualified health plans (QHPs) available through the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace, premium tax credits, and cost-sharing reduction payments.
VNA Health also will facilitate enrollment in qualified health plans and Medicaid.
Over the past few months, VNA has been hiring personnel to help residents navigate the marketplace, said Cheryl O’Donoghue, vice president of human resources and marketing at VNA Health Care.
With the three grants, VNA will serve Kane and parts of Will and DuPage counties. “Anyone can come to us from any county. We are always open, and we are always enrolling people,” O’Donoghue said. “We have enrolled in Medicaid for more than 12 years, and there will be a large umber of people now eligible for Medicaid.”
Eight private insurance companies are participating, selling plans across the “bronze,” “silver” and “platinum” levels.
Open enrollment for the health care exchange will last through Dec. 15.
The 50 people VNA has hired are called “Illinois Assisters” — in-person counselors to help residents navigate the enrollment process.
“Based on the answers, that person will connect and help them enroll for all programs they are eligible for at that time,” O’Donoghue said.
Who’s affected, and how
What residents need to know — and are often scared of — is how the ACA may or may not change their insurance. “For those currently on Medicaid, no changes. For those on Medicare, no changes. If they are insured through employers, no changes,” she said.
“But starting Oct. 1, the gaps that currently exist in health insurance coverage will be filled. Those who have been struggling without insurance for years will be filled,” O’Donoghue said.
The assisters working with VNA can help three groups — either to help them get enrolled in expanded Medicaid coverage, get them health insurance with subsidies to pay for the insurance, and just buy insurance through the state marketplace without those subsidies.
More information is available at vnafoxvalley.com or call 630-978-2532.