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updated: 12/4/2013 4:11 PM

Vista Provides ACA Sign-up Help Through Extended Deadline

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John Griffin

You've most likely heard the confusion surrounding the website for the Health Insurance Marketplace, the government's new platform for offering affordable health insurance. With the site's recently improved functionality, Vista Health System's application counselors can help make things more clear and assist with the sign-up process.

If you enroll by December 23, 2013, you will have health insurance January 1, 2014. To make an appointment for sign-up help for the Health Insurance Marketplace or Medicaid, call Vista Health System at 847-360-6955.

A primary goal of the Affordable Care Act is to help eligible Americans gain access to affordable health care. Most U.S. citizens are required to enroll for health insurance by March 31, 2014. Based on household income and dependents, you may be eligible for health insurance coverage at no cost through Medicaid. Or, you may be eligible for new health insurance options on the Health Insurance Marketplace -- and financial help towards the cost of premiums may be available.

"This is where Vista Health System can help," said Barbara Martin, President & CEO of Vista Health System. "With many people in our community lacking access to a computer or having difficulty enrolling on the government's website, our application counselors can help. We can assist individuals and their families evaluate the available health plan options and determine if they are eligible for Medicaid or other financial assistance."

Health Plans on Health Insurance Marketplaces

All health plans on the Marketplace must offer a comprehensive set of benefits, and individuals cannot be denied coverage based on a pre-existing condition. Some of the available health benefits include preventive care and wellness services, doctor visits, prescription drugs, hospital and emergency department care, lab services, pediatric services and more.

Medicaid Expansion

Illinois has chosen to expand Medicaid coverage beginning January 2014. This expansion will increase eligibility limits for adults to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Income Level (equivalent to an annual income of about $15,900 for one person). This will open Medicaid coverage to a new population, including childless adults.

"While a major function of is assessing whether individuals and families qualify for financial help to lower the cost of the insurance, Vista's application counselors can perform the same analysis and help with the sign-up process," Martin said.