KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The federal government is giving $150 million to community health centers so they can help uninsured people get enrolled in health insurance. People can begin enrolling in October through the new marketplace that's part of the health care law. There's a lot of education to be done.
Any U.S. citizen can go to the marketplace to compare private insurance plans and pick one. Coverage begins in January. It's a process that will be totally unfamiliar to many of the uninsured.
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"Patients need to be aware there are going to be options open to them -- not just you fall into this income bracket so you're gonna be in this insurance," says Dr. Sudeep Ross of Samuel U. Rodgers Community Health Center.
That's one things workers will be conveying. Samuel U. Rodgers, Swope Health Services and the Health Partnership Clinic are community health centers in the Kansas City Metro that will receive federal dollars to educate and enroll the uninsured.
They're people like Gabriel Barcenas. He knows there will be a penalty paid when he files his taxes if he doesn't enroll. If he does?
"That's what I'm trying to figure out. How much I'm gonna pay," says Gabriel.
The costs of the various plans aren't available yet. But Gabriel and his wife may qualify for subsidies that will reduce their cost. It's one issue that workers at Samuel U. Rodgers will help people sort through.
One challenge will be getting the information out in the 33 languages spoken by patients. But Dr. Ross believes the health center is up to the challenge since it already helps some patients enroll in Medicaid -- the health insurance program for the poorest citizens.