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updated: 1/7/2014 2:01 PM

Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday is Ideal Time to Enroll in Health Insurance

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Lake County Health Department

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that, "of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane." In connection with King's statement, the Enroll Lake County! initiative is making a special day of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, January 20. On that day, it will extend the hours of its west Lake County field office at Advocate Condell Immediate Care Center, 2 E. Rollins Road in Round Lake Beach, to be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Certified navigators will be on hand during these hours to assist individuals with health insurance applications. Walk-in appointments will be available, but appointments are preferred, and can be made by calling: (847) 377-4999.

Spearheaded by the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center in partnership with The Alliance for Human Services, Enroll Lake County! is the initiative working to educate and enroll Lake County residents in health care under the Affordable Care Act. Nearly 76 specially trained and certified counselors, called navigators, are available at 28 sites throughout Lake County to assist, answer questions and work with residents to enroll for health insurance. Their services are completely free. Since October, the program navigators have educated 6,700 people and helped approximately 1,800 to complete applications.

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"The Enroll Lake County program is here if you would like assistance with the application process," said Tony Beltran, the Health Department's Executive Director. "You can sit down with a navigator who will walk you through the application steps and help you enroll, or you can simply call our number if you have questions as you fill out the application on your own."

Under the Affordable Care Act, thousands of Illinoisans who were previously unable to get insurance can now get covered. All plans included in the Marketplace:

• Cover recommended preventive services free of charge

• Include a cap on out-of-pocket costs

• Have no lifetime or yearly dollar limit on coverage

• Will not reject anyone on the basis of pre-existing conditions

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois residents will pay less than residents in many other states under the Healthcare Marketplace and benefits may be even more affordable by subsidies offered by the federal government. Individuals and families have until March 31, 2014 to enroll in a Marketplace health plan.

There are several ways for Illinois residents to enroll for health insurance:

• Visit GetCoveredIllinois.gov

• Call Enroll Lake County! at: 847-377-4999 for assistance or to schedule an appointment with a local navigator at no charge

• Call the Get Covered Illinois Help Desk at 866-311-1119

For information about other Enroll Lake County! community events and enrollment site locations, visit: EnrollLakeCounty.com or GetcoveredIllinois.gov/events

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