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Week of Events to Bring Health Insurance Assistance

From The Carroll County Times, Saturday, March 12, 2011

Health officials in Carroll say knowledge is power, and starting Monday it can help people get the best health insurance possible for their dollar.

The Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County’s Access to Healthcare Leadership Team is hosting events throughout the week to help county residents with health insurance needs as part of cover the uninsured week.

Those who are uninsured or underinsured can attend to learn more about their health insurance options.

Barb Rodgers, director of health planning at Carroll County Health Department, said the team has met monthly to brainstorm ways to improve problems in that core health area.

“There are plans out there for folks who don’t ever realize they’re eligible,” Rodgers said.

Other people qualify for state health insurance programs but need help tracking down a provider, she said.

During this week last year, 132 showed up for enrollment events, she said. About one-third of those people had applications processed the day of the event, one-third of people were processed after the enrollment event and the remaining third weren’t eligible for services, but were referred elsewhere.

There will be at least three people at each enrollment session available to give advice and work with individuals. Depending on the resources each individual needs, meetings should take between 30 minutes to an hour, Rodgers said.

Louis Yeager, executive director of Catastrophic Health Planners, said people often don’t realize the programs that are available.

People with limited insurance can also find out what options they have to buy additional health insurance, he said. Those who are self-employed can get advice about insurance options at the event.

There are a number of choices out there, but people need to figure out if certain sacrifices they will have to make will be worth the benefits.

“There are options, but they’re not all perfect,” Yeager said.

More people have been visiting Catastrophic Health Planners, he said, especially working class people. The number of clients has grown to about 250 each month.

Catastrophic Health Planners Inc. is a nonprofit dedicated to helping clients through the obstacles posed by catastrophic health problems, according to its website.

It’s important for people to know that free services are also available to help with preventative care, Yeager said.

Organizations assisting with the enrollment events provide these services year-round, Rogers said, so people can learn how to take charge of their health care all of the time.

By Alisha George

Reach her at 410-857-7876 or alisha.george@carrollcountytimes.com

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