SPECIAL REPORT: Healthcare 101


CSRA (WJBF) – Are you among the millions of Americans who get your insurance though the health care exchange? If so, it’s important to keep up with an effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

For now, the ACA is still the law of the land. And if you missed the deadline to sign up, you’ll have to pay the price.

“We will repeal and replace Obamacare”.

This campaign promise helped to put President Trump in the White House.

Then in January, the Republican controlled Congress wasted no time laying the groundwork for the repeal of the affordable care act.

But like most legislation, the devil is in the details and repealing the law without replacing it, won’t likely sit well with the millions, who thanks to the ACA, now have health insurance.

Lena Willingham signed up for insurance through the health insurance marketplace last year.

Willingham said, “The process wasn’t too difficult.  It was pretty cut and dry.”

Willingham, who owns Lena’s Styles Salon in Augusta says she was able to pick her own doctor and had no problem getting appointments.

She also found the premiums surprisingly affordable. So why did she decide not to enroll this year?

Willingham said, “I’d rather not pay into something that I’m not sure is going to be available to me that was my reason for not renewing my plan.”

As a result, she’ll pay a hefty price.

Melissa Camp said, “This year’s penalty is 695 dollars per person or two and a half percent of your income whichever is greater.  So that could be a substantial amount of money.”

Melissa Camp is with Insure Georgia, A non-profit, non-partisan group.

She and other navigators like Jennifer Boykin helped uninsured Georgians sign up for health insurance.

Boykin remembers one man in particular.

“One of his major concerns was he had very high blood pressure and the medicine he had to pay for. Once he got the coverage, he was able to get those medications and everything else he needed. It was a great feeling being able to help him.”

The last date to enroll this year was January 31.

As for Lena Willingham, there may still be a way for her to get insurance despite missing the deadline.

“As a small business employer she can buy for herself through the individual market and she also can purchase through the shop marketplace which is the small business marketplace.  That marketplace is open year round.”

It could months or even years before the affordable care act is repealed and replaced.

Yet this entrepreneur remains hopeful.

“I was one that did benefit from it.  I do hope that they will have something in play when all of this comes to pass.”

How long it will be before a new bill passes in Congress remains to be seen.

“When changes are made we will keep the public informed as I am sure the new administration will and we will help people make any changes that are necessary”.

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