The Ottumwa Courier


November 27, 2013

Navigating Obamacare

OTTUMWA — It's no secret there have been problems with new federal health care regulations. What hasn't received as much attention: there are experts ready to help applicants navigate the sometimes challenging paths of the Affordable Care Act.

Sharon Mier said for some Ottumwans, the results have been worth the effort. She's a certified application counselor, a "CAC," who works as the outreach and enrollment coordinator for River Hills Community Health Center.

"For example, I had a husband and wife that had a low premium, which was $120," she said. "Their deductible was $300, and out of pocket was $600. And they were very pleased; they hadn't had insurance in years."

According to Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart, there are several ways Iowans can get help signing up for "Obamacare" health insurance. He and an assistant were in Ottumwa recently as part of a multi-city educational tour. They said the ways to get help include "navigators, CACs and going directly to" with questions.

Though Meir already had a background in social work, she had to undergo training and testing to be a CAC. She knows, she said, that this health care project has glitches.

"It can be very challenging," she said. "Anybody would qualify [for my help] if they wanted to check out the marketplace. If anybody has a question as to whether they qualify, they can definitely contact me. We can first try online, though there have been some challenges there. And I've found ways to work around some of them. If we can't get results online, we don't give up; we can do a paper application."

She's the full-time counselor in Ottumwa, and there's a part-timer in Richland and Centerville.

"I've been getting some really good results for people," Mier said. "That is, if you have people who have not had health insurance for years, they're finding out they can be covered. Some of them can get help with their premiums, help with cost sharing [which is the] deductible and co-pay, plus the co-insurance."

Text Only
  • 0418 OTT Tree City U.S.A. logo Ottumwa awarded as Tree City U.S.A. again OTTUMWA — Having big, beautiful trees throughout a community can help spruce up a city and make it more attractive to visitors. Ottumwa has shown a dedication to making the community more green and inviting, and the efforts have been recognized by th

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0418 OTT OEDC director -T Guiding our growth

    OTTUMWA — An organization designed to help Ottumwa grow has found a new employee in Indiana. The Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation (OEDC) board has chosen Sharon Stroh as the group's new executive director. “We are confident she will hit the g

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0417 OTT Camp Wapello fence photo -T -M -L Good fence irritates good neighbor DRAKESVILLE — For 82 years, Camp Wapello’s iconic entryway has welcomed people to peacefully coexist with nature. Now there’s a 400-foot barbed wire fence down the middle of the road. In February, Davis County Supervisors approved vacating of portion

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • City Council approves sale of properties OTTUMWA — On Tuesday the Ottumwa City Council met for the last regularly scheduled meeting of April. Included in the agenda for the evening were several dispositions of city owned property. Structures and land located at 519 W. Fourth St., 723 E. Mar

    April 15, 2014

  • Where to play OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Community School District wants to discuss moving to another athletic conference. Superintendent Davis Eidahl revealed that the district has been contacted by a smaller sports league, which has extended an invitation to join the

    April 15, 2014

  • 0415 Right side up monster truck pic Nice driver --- mean machine OTTUMWA --- Drivers sat at one end of their vehicles during the "pit party," meeting fans and signing autographs before the motorsport and monster truck exhibition at Bridge View Center this weekend. Monster truck driver Orville Hill let kids --- and

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0415 OTT Composting ethical pic Recycling in a garden OTTUMWA --- Parents will tell you: They hate to see kids waste food. A gardner named Scott Koepke feels the same way. “First, let’s get our food to people who are going to eat it,” he said. “It hurts me to see kids in the schools throw away an entire

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0412 OTT Pothole color photo -T -M [Duplicate] A bumper crop of potholes OTTUMWA — The nice weather has been putting the bad roads on display. Officials say good: It gives us a chance to fix them. “Every city is going through the same thing,” said Larry Seals, Ottumwa Public Works director. “It has been an unusual winter

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Home in a tent OTTUMWA -- As people live without shelter, they become desperate finding a place to sleep. The situation impacts more than just the community's homeless. "There is nowhere to put people who are homeless," said Mary Margaret Butler. "Nowhere." Ottumwa

    April 11, 2014

  • 0412 OTT Martha Speaks color photo -T -M Ottumwa children visited by cartoon star OTTUMWA — Iowa Public Television is celebrating its 45-year anniversary this year by helping communities like Ottumwa educate young children before they get into a school setting. One of the programs they are using to help reach out to children is by

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

AP National