Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

October 1, 2013

New national healthcare policies take effect today

JACKSONVILLE — After nearly a 3 1/2-year wait, Americans can begin browsing today for a healthcare plan that meets their needs through a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act initiated by President Barack Obama in 2010.

Designed to provide coverage for those who are uninsured or whose employers do not offer health insurance – a number estimated at nearly 50 million U.S. residents, according to figures reported by the Associated Press – under this innovative comprehensive program, a person can choose from four types of policies that best suit their needs, through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Once enrolled, coverage can begin as early as the beginning of the year.

In places like Cherokee County – where an estimated 31 percent of residents under age 65 have no health insurance, according to findings posted in countyhealthrankings.org – “Obamacare,” as it's better known, can have a positive impact.

Meanwhile, organizations like Cherokee County Public Health and the Alto Ecomonic Development Corpora-tion are working hard to provide free or no-cost clinics and services to meet the needs of the local population, such as drive-flu clinics and the  Alto Health For All health fairs that brings together a number of health-care providers each month to give out information and provide services.

However, as positive a measure as ACA may be, a central question remains: How affordable will the government-endorsed plans actually be?

A recent Forbes magazine report pointed out that “though the Obama administration touted lower-than-expected premiums for individuals (who) shop for health benefits, consumers also will see high out-of-pocket expenses, a parade of states and study of those costs show.”

In an interview with Caroline Pearson, vice president of Avalere Health – a research and advisory services firm on health policy issues tracking ACA – Pearson said that “consumers will need to balance lower monthly premiums against the potential for unpredictable, expensive out-of-pocket costs in plans with higher deductibles.”

According to an Associated Press report, “a government shutdown could dampen the rollout Tuesday … (b)ut it won't stop the main components of 'Obamacare' from going live as scheduled, glitches and all,” with consumers' main concerns focused on whether they “can afford the premiums, if the coverage will be solid, where bureaucratic pitfalls are and if new federal and state websites will really demystify shopping for health insurance.

“Full answers may take months,” according to the AP, which pointed out that “earlier, the federal government announced delays for small business and Spanish-language sign-ups … (a) protracted government shutdown could slow needed technology fixes.”

Individuals can sign up for coverage under the ACA as late as Dec. 15, and can utilize sites like www.HealthCare.gov to learn which plan best suits their needs.

By entering pertinent information about state of residence, age, gender, insurance status, income level, household size, a viewer will learn what Health Insurance Marketplace plan best suits his or her needs, plus receive information on certain topics (such as dependents under age 18 or pre-existing condition) that has been requested.

“After you complete the questions you will get a page of results that includes: A list of health coverage options you may qualify for; links to content that will help you make informed decisions; a personalized checklist to help you get ready to apply,” according to the HealthCare.gov site, which also runs the disclaimer, “this is not the application for the Health Insurance Marketplace.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Catherine look.tif Religious lines drawn: Protesters met by members of Church of Wells

    Other than a few community members' voices that rose above the crowd, the protest Saturday against the Church of Wells remained peaceful.

    April 15, 2014 3 Photos

  • HOPE event Pic 433.tif Folks attend weekend fundraiser for H.O.P.E.

    It was an evening fit for royalty, as supporters of the Helping Others Pursue Enrichment (H.O.P.E.) program gathered Saturday at The Castle on the Lake outside Jacksonville for “A Renaissance Evening.”

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Church Member looks.tif Church of Wells members attend protest

    About 30 members of the Church of Wells arrived at a protest Saturday. The event was planned after an incident at Wells Homecoming Day on April 5 where the church loudly "street preached" causing a disruption. Three of the church members were injured by two men at the parade. On Saturday, the event was peaceful, despite a few loud voices.

    See the complete story and photos in the next edition of the Daily Progress on Tuesday, April 15.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • ScholarshipAwards.tif 5 receive scholarships from Chamber’s Agri-Business Committee

    The Agri-Business Committee of the Jacksonville Chamber recently awarded five $1,000 scholarships at the Annual Cherokee County Junior Livestock Show on March 29.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Deadline to file taxes nears

    As an April 15 deadline for individuals to file their 2013 federal tax return approaches, pressure is mounting for tax preparers.

    April 11, 2014

  • Protest, march planned in Wells

    The town of Wells is planning a march to the R&R Mercantile on U.S. Hwy. 69 from the former Dairy Queen to protest the Church of Wells.
    The event is planned for 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

    April 11, 2014

  • Court date set for JP hearing

    A court date has been reset to April 28 for a hearing of a petition by a local primary candidate in an upcoming Pct. 4 Justice of the Peace race.

    April 11, 2014

  • Luncheon to include update on Lake Columbia

    Updates on the proposed Lake Columbia will be the topic at the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce luncheon.  
    Kelly Holcomb, general manager for Angelina Neches River Authority, will provide updated information on the proposed Lake Columbia between Jackson-ville and New Summerfield.

    April 11, 2014

  • KiwanisDrive.tif Kiwanis Club collects 2,000 pounds of food

    Kiwanis members serve their communities all year long. But the excitement for service really builds in April each year when Kiwanis members come together for Kiwanis One Day – a day of community service that is felt around the world.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Several topics reviewed at council meeting

    Property footage, street closures and scheduling a date to canvass the upcoming municipal election were discussed Tuesday during the Jacksonville City Council meeting.

    April 10, 2014