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
  • halo-5-guardians-concept_wallpaper-1920x1080-53cf9b0098ea45ada37dc0f66bc174f5.jpg The Art of Kong

    OTTUMWA — The Mona Lisa. Whistler's Mother. Donkey Kong? Don't be so surprised, said Walter Day, that video games and the surrounding memorabilia are being considered art. The creativity and artistic vision required to create a poster, said the found

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Urbandale comes back to beat Ottumwa Midwest BOONE — Ottumwa Midwest led by seven runs in the fourth inning, but Urbandale National put together a furious comeback to steal the victory, 12-11, on Friday at the 9-10 Year Old Little League State Baseball Tournament. The top of the first saw Ottum

    July 25, 2014

  • Parks Dept. has long list of projects

    OTTUMWA — The Parks and Recreation Department has approved a list of capital improvements for the next two years that includes the installation of handicapped-accessible swings and new park bathrooms.

    July 9, 2014

  • 0710 Farmers Market Color Photo 1 -L -M Fresh food improves community

    OTTUMWA — Every summer across the Midwest, food stands pop up on gravel roads, and farmers markets are filled with a variety of home-grown products. Finding a fresh selection of healthy greens and juicy fruits isn't as hard as you might think. Accord

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0703 OTT Heart boy photo A Heartfelt Miracle OTTUMWA — It’s funny how wishes can change so completely in just a few weeks. But laughter wasn’t the reaction of Jeff and Mary Penrod.The Ottumwa couple’s son, Brandon, was 18 years old when, in February, Mary took him to the Pella clinic to get loo

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0703 OTT River Hills parking lot color photo -L -T River Hills expansion progresses

    OTTUMWA — Expanding River Hills Community Health Center downtown continues to be a priority with the Ottumwa City Council. Earlier this week, the council authorized city staff to survey the property, prepare a draft developers agreement as well as pr

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Street repair program begins OTTUMWA — If you think roadwork projects in the city of Ottumwa are just about complete, think again. This week, the Ottumwa City Council awarded its preventative maintenance contract for sealing cracks in asphalt and concrete pavement roads througho

    July 2, 2014

  • A new look OTTUMWA — The 300 block of East Main Street in Ottumwa will be getting a facelift. During a public hearing earlier this week, the Ottumwa City Council gave its OK to the plans and specifications to renovate 15 buildings’ storefronts in downtown Ottum

    July 2, 2014

  • City won't tolerate bad behavior

    OTTUMWA — A newly designed policy to establish standards of behavior was presented to Ottumwa City Council on Tuesday night.The new policy’s introduction on Tuesday, demands city staff and elected officials exhibit professional behavior when they int

    July 1, 2014

  • 0702 OTT library grant color photo -T -L -M Ottumwa Public Library updates genealogy room

    OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Public Library is the recipient of a Bright Ideas Community Enrichment Fund Grant from the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation. The Friends of the Ottumwa Public Library group gave $5,520 to put toward a new microfilm reader. The

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

AP National