Amid historic levels of unemployment due to the pandemic, many Americans have lost health insurance. Because of that, “His Hands Free Clinic” in Cedar Rapids says they expect to see an increase in people signing up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act.
The clinic provides healthcare coverage for those who don’t have insurance, and this year, that number is increasing nationally and locally.
“We’re talking things like dental care, medical care, chiropractic care, and physical therapy,” said Executive Director Dawn Brouwers. “The need is there because of the pandemic and people who are not working.”
Healthcare Marketplace offers two types of coverage and all plans cover essential health benefits, pre existing conditions and preventative services. Brouwers says since re-opening after the derecho closed them down temporarily at their new location, community sign ups for coverage and appointments have been steady, but she expects to see more as time goes on.
“This year because of the pandemic, many people who had insurance who lost insurance are now eligible, so the number of people who could sign up is huge in comparison to other years,” she said.
While that may be true, the challenge is getting the word out to the people are are eligible and need it most.
“Many people who are eligible don’t know they are eligible. They may not read the newspaper or hear about it on the radio or TV,” she added.
So, they’ve tried something new this year with their efforts, partnering with Mount Mercy University’s marketing classes to put together informational posters to put throughout town – where folks who are lower income may be able to see them
The other challenge they’re dealing with is less staffing to get folks who need coverage signed up, but Brouwers says they are increasing case worker hours between the open enrollment dates of November 1st through December 15th.
Brouwers says it essential now more than ever.
“If we want to have a healthy community, we need to have healthy people who are able to work, who are able to go to school, worship, all those things and having insurance is one of the first steps to a healthier community,” she said.