Meetings held across state to inform on new health care laws

MARKED TREE, AR (KAIT) - Despite Thursday's storms, many gathered at Arnold Chapel in Marked Tree to learn what the Affordable Care Act means for them.

For Mary Williams, a case manager with Area Agency on Aging, what it means for her clients.

"I'm working with a group of people that are in need of these services. I do many assessments in the home and some people do and some people don't qualify for Medicaid," Williams told Region 8 News. "We're already getting calls on it because people are so confused about this."

As enrollment starts in the fall, multiple Arkansas groups are going across the state to help clear up the confusion about what changes are coming.

"Because it's such a fluctuating issue, some people don't know where it stands," Idonia Trotter, Executive Director of the Arkansas Minority Health Commission said.

Trotter told Region 8 News that poverty, regardless of race, in the South causes so many to go without insurance.

"People are living and working 2 and 3 jobs and contributing to society but simply do not have enough funds, even with those two and three jobs to afford insurance."

Trotter explained that the Affordable Care Act being implemented here in Arkansas will make insurance available to more than 500,000 Arkansans.

"Some of them will have it free to no cost and others will pay small subsidies potentially based on their income," she said. "It's going to really open up the door for so many Arkansans to live a longer and healthier quality life. Not just live but to live quality lives so it means a whole lot to so many."

Lisa McGuire attended the event, something she's glad was available to the Marked Tree community.

"That's letting you know that there is help out there for us, y'know for the people who don't have very much," McGuire said. She plans to bring the information she learned at the meeting home to her family.

Along with the AMHC, the Arkansas Health Connector, UAMS and the Arkansas Department of Human Services will put on these public forums across the state to inform Arkansans about changes coming due to the Affordable Care Act.

If you have questions, you can click on the following links for information:

About the Health Care Law:

About the Exchange:

About Medicare:

The next public forum on the Affordable Care Act will be in Blytheville on July 25 at the First Missionary Baptist Church from 5:30-7:30.

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