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updated: 9/21/2013 6:46 PM

Town-hall meeting in Elgin draws sparse crowd

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People got a chance to hear about upcoming health care insurance requirements and city issues at an Elgin town-hall meeting on Saturday, a daylong event organized by an Elgin resident.

Organizer Linda Givilancz, an insurance agent and broker, gave a presentation on the Affordable Care Act. The uninsured will be required to pay a penalty if they don't have health insurance starting Jan. 1.

Starting Oct. 1., people will be able to enroll in a new Illinois Health Benefits Marketplace to select their health care coverage for 2014. Others will be covered under Medicaid and Medicare.

The Society of Actuaries estimates that state insurance premiums will rise under the Affordable Care Act, Givilancz said. However, no information on Marketplace plans and costs has been released yet, she said, adding the government shouldn't get involved in health care.

Premiums in New York are expected to go down, said Elgin resident Donna Griffin-Lego, who said she was hired by Aurora-based VNA Healthcare to serve as a "navigator" and help others sign up for the Marketplace.

Griffin-Lego, who said she felt the presentation was "biased toward the insurance industry and the right-wing talking points," will be among the speakers at "The ABCs of ACA: Embrace the Benefits of The Affordable Care Act" at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles.

The Elgin event also included a town-hall meeting conducted by City Councilmen Terry Gavin and John Prigge.

The two gave an overview about a few recent issues, such an agreement for debt repayment from the Elgin Symphony Orchestra. They also talked about their stance on Elgin's taxes and fees, which they largely deem excessive.

Both encouraged residents to take part in the upcoming 2014 budget discussions, which will begin with a special committee of the whole meeting at 1 p.m. Wednesday at The Centre of Elgin.

The town-hall meeting was useful, said resident Rosemarie Kahn. About a dozen people attended it; six people attended the ACA presentation.

"It would be really nice to see more of (town halls) with different council members, so we can get to know them and what they think, too," Kahn said.

Givilancz said she organized the daylong event, which also featured a few other speakers, at the last minute after renting out a meeting room at American Legion Post 57 for "The Making of America," a presentation by the conservative National Center for Constitutional Studies.

That event has been rescheduled for Oct. 26 in Palatine.

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