(SIOUX CITY, IA) The Siouxland Community Health Center is starting a counseling program to help people get a better understand of the Affordable Care Act and help them sign up.
The new law promises lower health care costs and free preventative screenings but it can be confusing.
The Siouxland Community Health center is a certified application counselor organization and with the enrollment period inching closer each day the center is federally funded to help people get started.
"Our counselors are trained in how to enroll people and what criteria to look for. They can actually help people walk through their income statements and walk through their tax returns and say this is the plan that you best qualify for," said Mari Kaptain-Dahlen, The interim CEO at the Siouxland Community Health Center.
The counselors had to go through extensive training - 30 hours for a certification - all to help you better understand the changes coming your way.
"We know that there are approximately 37 million Americans that don't have health insurance and not having health insurance when you get sick or you have an accident can be catastrophic for people financially so what the act is really designed to do is to provide access and provide coverage for people who struggle to afford that," said Kaptain-Dahlen.
Here's a few things to know about the act: A range of health insurance options will be available in what's called The Marketplace. There will be several different health care options depending on what you are looking to spend - if you are earning under a certain income you may qualify for Medicaid.
All Americans, regardless of which plan you choose, will get free preventative screenings for things like cancer, blood pressure and diabetes and pre-existing conditions will be covered.
So what if you live in a state like Nebraska or South Dakota that have opted out of the federal insurance exchanges?
"The big concern that we have here, even though we're located in Iowa, we serve the people in Nebraska and South Dakota and we want them to understand that they can still get service. But they won't have the benefit of an expanded product like people here in Iowa," said Kaptain-Dahlen.
October 1st is the official first day to sign up for the Affordable Care Act. The Siouxland Community Health center will be offering counseling starting that day.
Coverage will begin as early as January 1st 2014. Open enrollment ends March 31st, of 2014.
For more information call: 712-202-1069