Western Cook County ready for health insurance exchange
To the Editor:
There has been a great deal of press this past week or so about the readiness (or lack thereof) of the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Exchange in Illinois and in other states. But no matter what reaction one has to these recent articles, the purpose of this letter is to let West Suburban Cook County know that there is local help. As in other communities throughout the state, outreach and enrollment in these western suburbs of Cook County has been entrusted to community organizations with a long history of community–wide outreach and service in health care and social services. Community Nurse Health Center is proud to be leading a collaboration of area nonprofits in Lyons and Proviso Townships to educate community residents and small businesses and assist with enrollment in new insurance options and expanded Medicaid for low-income adults. This collaborative, called the West Suburban Cook County ACA Coverage Network, is a partnership of several trusted local organizations, including Aging Care Connections, BEDS, Helping Hand, Mujeres Latinas En Accion and Pillars, in addition to Community Nurse. The partnership is supported by a state grant from the Illinois Department of Public Health, a federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration and support from Community Memorial Foundation.
Outreach and enrollment workers, as well as several current staff at these community nonprofits, have been trained and will be certified by the federal and state government as “In-Person Counselors” to help persons enroll on the Exchange. Bilingual assistance (in Spanish, Polish and Arabic) will be available and we will be able to refer persons needing other language assistance to the appropriate organizations for help. In addition, these six trusted community organizations will work with Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital, the Townships, school districts, libraries, churches and other community organizations to help educate the more than 35,000 persons residing in Lyons and Proviso Townships who are eligible for these new health coverage insurance plans and benefits.
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