Decatur health clinic helping clients get covered

DECATUR--The deadline to sign up for health insurance during the open enrollment period is fast approaching and one Decatur clinic is trying to get all its clients covered. 

Every other Tuesday evening, volunteer doctors at the Tzedakah Christian Health Center hand out care at no cost to their clients. 

"We put into our mission statement that we were going to serve the uninsured or the under-insured," said Dr. David Gregory, the center's medical director.

But they're also on a mission to help their patients get health care coverage by the time their check ups are complete. 

"My goal would be that everyone who leaves here knows that they are covered for sure, somehow," said Erech Pierson, an independent insurance consultant. 

Pierson walks people through the process for a living. He says even though we're in the second open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act, many consumers are still misguided. 

"It's not that they're unaware of it," said Pierson. "They just don't know how it works."

If you or your spouse is offered health insurance through an employer, Pierson says there is little chance of getting a tax credit under the ACA. But there are other factors that determine whether you and your family are eligible for financial assistance. 

"Income and the size of the household are then what kind of help us determine whether this is someone that we can help get covered through state assistance, through a medical card, or whether this is someone that we can take through to actually help them to get insurance," said Pierson. 

Last year, between 50 and 60 people walked out of Tzedakah clinics with new insurance policies. This year, Pierson has helped around 12 sign up so far. 

"In the whole population of Macon County, is not a tremendous amount," said Pierson. "But for the few that actually came to this clinic, and then the few that we were actually able to assist, I thought that we did really well." 

Because getting patients covered increases their chances of staying well.
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