Two health care providers that work with families with little or no income expressed concern about being able to continue providing benefits and how the Affordable Care Act will impact them.
HealthNet in Janesville is a free clinic and Community Health Systems of Wisconsin works with families to make health care affordable for them.
Vonda Vogle said it is hard to afford the medication she needs to manage her chronic asthma. When she lost her job as a fork lift operator she also lost her health insurance.
Vogle is one of more than 1,600 Rock County residents that use HealthNet.
"What would cost me $600-$700 worth of medication they were able to give me for free. I was so grateful. It saved my life," Vogle said.
Even with the Affordable Care Act in effect, Executive Director Jean Randles believes residents will still need their service.
"Rock County still has many individuals that still are struggling and will need a place to call their own for primary medical and vision care," Randles said.
She anticipates at least a 10 percent increase in patients as they transition during the next four to six months.
"We're going to still be needed in the community to provide services to individuals that are exempt from affordable health care or still cannot afford the premiums along with deductibles and co-pays," Randles said.
From Racine to their clinic at the Eclipse Center in Beloit, Community Health System provides health care services to about 20,000 patients whether they have insurance or not. Charges are decided on a sliding scale based on income.
Their CEO Richard Perry said they're working to be included in the provider network for private insurance companies.
"There's a potential for us to lose those patients, that even if they wanted to come here cannot because we aren't a part of their provider network," Perry said.
During her doctor's visit, Vogle learned she'll also need surgery to have cysts removed and she's getting help with that too.
"I'm kind of teary-eyed about it because I didn't know what I was going to do without insurance. So I'm very happy today," Vogle said.
For people that have questions, several local providers are getting together to provide a free health care enrollment fair Monday Jan. 20 from 9 a.m. t0 4 p.m. at the Rock County Jobs Center.
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