Program helps residents sign up for health care

An individual earning less than $15,856 a year and a household of two adults with a combined income of up to $20,628 are now eligible for Medicaid health insurance in Illinois. A family of four earning up to $94,200 a year can get assistance to lower their health coverage costs by buying a plan through the new Health Insurance Marketplace.

If this is news to you, you are not alone. There are about 23,000 residents younger than 65 in McHenry County who are uninsured and eligible to get free or lower-cost health insurance. The only problem is many don’t know about these programs.

The McHenry County Department of Health got a grant to hire support counselors who can raise awareness and help people apply online.

Enrollment began Oct. 1 and will continue through March 2014. If you are uninsured, you buy your own health insurance or you can’t afford the plan your employer offers, you should get information and look at your options at You also can learn more or apply by calling 866-311-1119 and TTY users 855-889-4325.

Anyone can enroll on their own, but many will need assistance to navigate the marketplace website so they can find out exactly what subsidies and tax credits apply and what insurance plans meet their needs.

Additional support is available through Enroll McHenry County, a one-year project funded by the Illinois Department of Public Health that provides trained in-person counselors to educate, assist and enroll residents through June 2014. If you would like to make a free, confidential appointment with a certified in-person counselor, visit or call 815-334-4510.

The Enroll McHenry County project is a partnership between the McHenry County Department of Health and the following institutions: Advocate Good Shepherd Health System, Advocate/Sherman Health System, Centegra, FamiliesETC, Family Alliance, Family Health Partnership Clinic and McHenry Community Clinic – Greater Elgin Family Care Center and Pioneer Center for Human Services.

The following is a list of upcoming public talks on Affordable Care Act insurance. Call to register:

Oct. 22 – For Small Businesses, Crystal Lake Library, 126 W. Paddock St., 815-459-1687.

Oct. 23 – 7 p.m., Johnsburg Public Library, 3000 W. Johnsburg Road, 815-344-0077

Oct. 24 – IN SPANISH – 6:30 p.m., Harvard Diggins Library, 900 E. McKinley St., 815-943-4671

Oct. 26 – “The Clinic” – a Community Outreach Event, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Immanuel Lutheran Church, 300 S. Pathway Court (behind Jewel), Crystal Lake, 815-459-1441

Oct. 27 – 2:30 p.m., Woodstock Library, 414 W. Judd St., 815-338-0542.

Oct. 29 – 7 to 8 p.m., Crystal Lake Library, 126 W. Paddock St., 815-459-1687.

If you would like an in-person counselor to give an educational talk to your organization, school, church or business, email

• Shelly Nicholson is the grant coordinator for Enroll McHenry County for the McHenry County Department of Health.

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