Presentations to help residents with health care changes

WOODSTOCK – Residents with questions about the Affordable Care Act and their insurance options can choose from a number of upcoming informational sessions offered by the McHenry County Department of Health.

The health department received a grant to hire and train support counselors to educate residents about the changes and help them apply online. More than 20 presentations have been held thus far, and another six are scheduled for November.

“People have been waiting a long time and have a lot of questions,” said Shelly Nicholson, grant coordinator for Enroll McHenry County. “Our plan is to have these presentations, provide the basic information, answer questions and get these people signed up for appointments.”

Enrollment began Oct. 1 and will continue through March 2014.

Despite problems with the rollout of the government's health care website, there have been no issues with the state’s website, www.getcoveredillinois.gov.

In McHenry and Lake counties, 60 plans and four carriers are offered through the Affordable Care Act, Nicholson said. Seven counselors are available to help residents through the process, and another five are in the process of finishing the 60-hour training.

The presentations are free to the public, and residents, small business owners and other county stakeholders can also set up one-on-one appointments with a counselor to begin the process.

Those who are Medicaid eligible in Illinois can enroll right away, with the entire process taking about an hour, Nicholson said.

The following is a list of upcoming public presentations on Affordable Care Act insurance:

Nov. 4 — 7 to 9 p.m., Algonquin Public Library, 2600 Harnish Drive, 847-458-6060

Nov. 5 — 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Harvard-Diggins Library, 900 E. McKinley Street, 815-943-4671

Nov. 6 — 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Huntley Area Public Library, 11000 Ruth Road, 847-669-5386

Nov. 7 — 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Woodstock Public Library, 414 W. Judd St., 815-338-0542

Nov. 7 — 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Harvard-Diggins Library, 900 E. McKinley St., 815-943-4671

Nov. 9 — Noon to 2 p.m., Wonder Lake Chamber of Commerce, 7602 Hancock Dr., 815-728-0682

Residents can enroll individually, but must make sure they use an agent or broker who is certified to sell the official health insurance marketplace plans, Nicholson said.

To schedule a one-on-one appointment, call 815-334-4510 or visit www.mcdh.info.

Residents can learn more about the plans or start the enrollment process by calling 866-311-1119, 855-889-4325 or by visiting www.getcoveredillinois.gov.

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