In Rural Iowa, Distance Makes Health Care Sign-Ups A Challenge

Insurance help isn't easy to find in many Iowa counties.Enlarge image i

Insurance help isn’t easy to find in many Iowa counties.


iStockphoto

Insurance help isn't easy to find in many Iowa counties.

Insurance help isn’t easy to find in many Iowa counties.

iStockphoto

Broadlawns Medical Center has been serving low-income residents of Des Moines, Iowa, and the surrounding countryside for decades. Now there’s a twist in Broadlawns’ mission as a public hospital: helping people sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

On a recent Saturday morning, Jerrine Sanford traveled half an hour from the small town of Runnells to get her insurance questions answered at a hospital-run event.

Sanford, 47, is out of work because of a back injury. She’s worried about the law’s requirement that everyone have health insurance or pay a penalty.

She has been covered through IowaCare, which provides some services to people who haven’t been eligible for Medicaid. But as Iowa expands Medicaid to include people who previously weren’t covered, IowaCare is ending.

Sanford wants to know about her options. “Where our doctors are going to be, enrollment fees, if it covers dental coverage, eye coverage and hospitalization,” she says.

With more than 200,000 Iowans lacking health insurance, there are lots of people asking questions like Sanford’s but not many people available to answer them.

Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart says the state

Article source: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/11/27/247374253/in-rural-iowa-distance-makes-health-care-sign-ups-a-challenge?ft=1&f=131849999

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