It seems like a lot of work for two people but Kimberly Scott Pilkington and Hollie Taylor of Egyptian Health Department are helping implement the Affordable Health Care Act for Saline, Gallatin and White counties.
Kimberly said the early days of roll out have been "interesting."
Those interested in the health care program are asked to call Pilkington at 618-313-1227 or Taylor at 618-313-1275 to set up an appointment at Egyptian Health Department in Eldorado or at the Bridge Medical Clinic in Harrisburg.
Pilkington said, "I think once the curiosity wears off it will be smoother. A lot of people are accessing the system out of curiosity at this time."
Pilkington said so far they have completed applications for 15 to 20 people at about an hour-and-a-half to two hours to complete an application.
Taylor said, "That's because the system is running slow right now. It is very user friendly but there are glitches. The slowness is in the verification area. That is an extra step that is holding things up.
"It's like buying a car in some ways. You put in your needs and it responds by giving you choices."
The application does not ask for any medical information. There are some simple questions: Tobacco use, age, region and family size.
"You can get the basic information about the plans offered by logging in to getcoveredill.gov. The ABE site is where you determine if you are eligible for Medicaid Benefits. You then go to healthcare.gov to learn what plans you are eligible for," Taylor said.
There are four plans: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. A 40-year-old non-tobacco user in Southern Illinois will spend about $220 a month on the premium without any subsidies applied. There are subsidies available and tax credits.
Those who qualify for one of these will pay less. People can choose from pool of eligible private insurance companies.
Claims are handled in the same manner as health insurance claims have been handled in the past, they said.
Pilkington said, "The penalty for not being insured will be paid at tax time each year. The first year is $95 for not insuring yourself. The second year is $325 and the third year the penalty is $695. If your income is higher you will be charged one percent of your taxable income."
"The penalties are applied to each individual in a family. So if you have children and elect not to be insured you will penalized $47.50 per child the first year, $162.50 per child the second year, $347.50 per child the third year," she said.
Pilkington stressed her role is to help, not punish.
"Our role is not to enforce, but to educate and assist," said Kimberly. "Government enforcement will not occur until tax time."