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Scenic Mountain Medical Center (SMMC) held an Information Session about the Healthcare Marketplace at the North Side Community Center earlier today.

April Arms, Administrative Assistant at SMMC, gave a brief presentation about Open Enrollment, which will run from November 1st through December 15th, and then answered questions that anyone had about enrollment or about medical insurance.

During her presentation, it was advised that applications and services are free and that Sylvia Herrera, with Eligibility Screening Services (ESS) representative, will be able to ask the applicant questions and be able to put his/her information in the system and give the applicant plan options. Herrera is actually the person who will be helping with online applications and who can answer questions that anyone may have about finding an affordable healthcare plan and she is available through appointment at the hospital year-round.

Arms also went on to say that the application takes between 15 to 20 minutes with Herrera, and afterwards, the applicant will be able to find available insurance plans available in this area, as opposed to all insurance plans that may not be applicable locally. The representative will then be able to print out the information about the deductibles and co-pay, all at no cost to the applicant.

Arms also stated that the applicant is under no obligation to pick an option during the appointment and that they will be able to take home the printed information to review further so that a decision can be made, and if they have questions then they can call back with their questions.

Everyone at the session was reminded that the Affordable Care Act gives tax credits for having health insurance and that there is also a tax penalty for not having health insurance.

Ending the presentation, Arms stated that the most important thing that everyone should take away from the information session is that everyone has options for medical health insurance and just because they fill out the application it doesn’t mean that they are required to accept one of the available programs.

“We encourage everyone to come out and apply. Yes or no, they can decide but the options are available,” says Arms.

It was also noted that Herrera is also able to help out with the application of Medicaid, and with the Howard County indigent program.

“Some may cost nothing, some may cost too much, some may cost in the middle,” says Arms, “but she will at least let you know what your options are because that’s part of what ESS does is to help educate with health insurance.”

To make an appointment with the ESS representative at SMMC, or to ask health insurance questions you can contact Sylvia at 432-268-4855.


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