Belleville residents sign up for health insurance through Affordable Care Act

News-DemocratJanuary 18, 2014 

Sporting "Get Covered Illinois" shirts and stocking caps, enrollment navigators helped poor and homeless people sign up for health insurance through the federal Affordable Care Act and Medicaid programs during an enrollment event Saturday at the Belleville Public Library.

Belleville resident Angela Gulley, 54, who's unemployed, was one of a handful of people to sign up.

"It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be," Gulley said. "It was short and sweet. They gave me good information."

Leroy Henderson, 58, of Belleville, who's disabled, said he kept hearing about the Affordable Care Act on television, but didn't know much about it until coming to the event Saturday.

"I didn't want to be left out," Henderson said. "It's a good thing to have."

Once he receives his health card in the mail, Henderson said he plans to have some bloodwork done.

Like Gulley, Henderson was pleased with how efficient the enrollment process was.

Henderson and Gulley were both enrolled in about 30 minutes.

The enrollment event was organized by the Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation in cooperation with Christian Conqueror's Center in Belleville.

Pastor John Curry said he was glad to partner with the foundation to spread the word about the Affordable Care Act.

"I didn't really know homeless people could be covered," he said. "It was kind of like a perfect fit."

On the third Saturday of every month, Christian Conqueror's Center hosts a free meal for the homeless at noon, and Curry was letting attendees Saturday know about the health insurance enrollment event at the library.

Officials with the Southern Illinois Healthcare Foundation were pleased with the turnout.

"I didn't think there would be this many people," said Dale Fiedler, the foundation's director of planning and development.

Program manager Liz Brookshire said the foundation also hosted an enrollment event at Holy Angels Shelter in East St. Louis last month and plans to make it a monthly event. However, a date for this month's event is still being determined. The foundation plans to host another enrollment event in Belleville next month.

Brookshire said anyone can sign up for health insurance if he or she meets the income guidelines. For more information, contact her at 618-920-5940.

"We want to get more information out into the community" about the Affordable Care Act, Brookshire said, "and get the community to spread the word."

For more info

If you want to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, call Liz Brookshire with the Southern Illinois Healhcare Foundation at 618-920-5940 or visit www.GetCoveredIllinois.gov to learn more.

Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or jforsythe1@bnd.com.

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