by Lisa Tome
A local doctor is doing his part to help people learn about the requirements for the Affordable Care Act.
Dr. Joseph Weidner, of Stone Run Family Medicine, Colonial Way, Rising Sun, said that the assistance is open to anyone. You don't have to be a Stone Run patient to get the information.
On Thursdays, from 3-6 p.m. through the end of 2013, Navigators from Triangle Health Alliance will help assist individuals learn about the health benefit exchange set up in Maryland. This is where Maryland residents can sign up for health insurance or medical assistance. "If anyone wants to know how Obamacare is going to affect them, they can come and talk with a navigator," said Dr. Weidner.
Carla Davis, from Triangle Health Alliance of Elkton was on site last week. She is one of three navigators who will be assisting people at Stone Run Family Medicine.
The focus will be those who have no to low income and range in age from 18-65. But Davis said she can help everyone by telling them where they need to go for information about the Affordable Care Act.
"We are here to make it clear and lay out what is available for people," said Davis.
She said the main focus will be to show people how to navigate the system. They will also learn if they qualify for the insurance, Medicaid, or if they need to enroll in a qualified health plan.
"We've found that a lot of people are dropping insurance. They are scared of finding something new," said Davis. She also said that those who do not enroll before the deadline set forth in the Affordable Care Act will face financial penalties.
"We have 48 different plans that could be offered. We can narrow down the four different plans that are for you," she said.
"Even if you're covered under your employer, it doesn't hurt to check out the system. This encourages people to explore their options," added Davis.
The guidelines for an individual are a 2013 income of up to $15,856. For a family of four the amount is up to $32,499 to receive free health coverage through Medicaid.
Those with an income of $15,857 (individual) to $94,200 (family of four) may receive tax credits or subsides to purchase health insurance.
Those who want to navigate on their own can go to mdhealthconnection.gov or call 1-855-642-8572.