February 11, 2014
BEAUFORT, SC - Beaufort Memorial Hospital has extended its free one-on-one
assistance program through the end of March, and added additional days and
hours in order to accommodate uninsured area residents wishing to sign up for
coverage available under the Affordable Care Act.
The service is now available Tuesday through Friday at the Beaufort
Memorial Medical & Administrative Center (BMAC) located at 990 Ribaut Road,
Beaufort, across from the main hospital campus. Hospital employees who
have completed training as federally certified application counselors are
available to answer questions and guide individuals through the through the new
Health Insurance Marketplace online application.
Under the new Health Insurance
Marketplace or “exchange,” Beaufort and Jasper residents have the choice of several
insurance plans offered by three companies. The plans are divided into three
levels of coverage—bronze, silver and gold—based on how much the plan will pay
for your health care and what services are covered.
“The counselors are not selling
plans,” said BMH Chief Financial Officer
Jeff White. “They can tell you if your doctor or hospital is a member of
a particular plan. They can answer questions and help you get through the
application process. But what plan you choose will be up to you.”
Beaufort Memorial coordinated the
program with AccessHealth Lowcountry, a network of area healthcare providers
that serves as a clearinghouse of medical services for low-income uninsured
residents in Beaufort and Jasper counties. Some 32,000 people in the two
counties are believed to be uninsured. Most of them will need to purchase
insurance by March 31 to avoid paying a tax penalty of $95.
an appointment with a BMH counselor to learn more about signing up for
insurance through the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplace, call
(843) 522-5585. Counselors are available on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
mornings, and Wednesday afternoons.