Healthcare forum hosted by Congressman Alcee Hastings
By Staff writer
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — Close to 200 concerned residents of Broward County joined United States Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20) at the African American Research Library Cultural Center (AARLCC) to receive information on how the new healthcare laws will impact the community. Congressman Hastings was joined by a panel of healthcare experts that included Jasmine Shirley, vice president of Community Health Services of Broward Health; Rosalyn Frazier, CEO of Broward Community and Family Health Centers, Inc.; and Sam Chalfant of Chalfant Insurance Services, Inc. Members of the panel also included Florida State Senator Chris Smith along with Florida House of Representatives Gwyndolen Clarke-Reed, Hazelle Rogers and Perry Thurston.
Members of the audience included local church clergyman, small business owners and young people. They were presented with detailed information about how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be implemented and how it would affect their lives. After the panelist’s presentations, individuals had the opportunity to pose questions and concerns in regards to their own personal situations. Afterwards, those who attended were invited for refreshments and were provided with a brochure containing further information about ACA.
Since its enactment in 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been making a positive impact in the lives of millions of Americans. By the time the ACA is fully implemented, more than 30 million individuals who were previously uninsured will have access to affordable coverage. Currently, Florida is ranked No.2 in the nation in the rate of uninsured residents younger than 65 years of age. In Broward County, the rate of uninsured is at 26 percent, or about 392,000 people according to the US Census data released Thursday.
Congressman Hastings said “I stand committed to comprehensive health care reform and making it more affordable and accessible for all, especially middle class and working poor families, individuals with chronic diseases, women, children, and seniors. I will continue working tirelessly with my colleagues in Congress to improve our nation’s health care system, which includes protecting and strengthening the Affordable Care Act.”
The Florida state representatives on the panel indicated that the refusal of the state of Florida to accept the federal aid, an estimated $50 billion, was shameful. Medicaid expansion would have provided coverage to more than a million low-income Floridians.
Beginning October 1, 2013, individuals will have the opportunity to shop for different insurance plans through the newly created marketplace. They will then be offered different plans and have different networks and providers depending on the plan that is chosen through the Marketplace.
Jasmine Shirley recommended that people sign up through the Marketplace even if they aren’t sure what they may qualify for. She said “you don’t have to figure out the income requirements. The math will be done and calculated for you once you apply through the Marketplace.”
The open enrollment period for the affordable healthcare coverage will begin October 1, 2013 thru March 31, 2014. All uninsured residents are advised to call the hotline, or go online to obtain additional information about the healthcare marketplace.
For more information about the new health care law, call 1-800-318-2596 open 24 hours a day/7 days a week, or visit the official website www.healthcare.gov