Marketplace health care coverage begins - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Marketplace health care coverage begins

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV)- After months of debate, many of President Barack Obama's health care reforms took effect on Wednesday. 

For those that managed to shop the health care marketplace, they're coverage has already started.

The Affordable Care Act is in effect, the marketplace has opened. Now, months later, marketplace health coverage has officially begun.
"It's been an interesting three months," Betsy Arce, Certified Application Counselor. But what does this mean for Siouxlanders? 
"There are some people who are really excited that they have the health insurance coverage. There are people who are going to be able to have surgeries and different services done during the month of January," Arce said.

But, not everyone is happy with the coverage they signed up for.  In fact, some are making a 180. "We've had people who have opted out of it because they did not feel that it was affordable to them," Arce said.

The changes it's caused in Iowa's child health care specifically are a huge plus, officials at Siouxland Community Health Center say. "They'll have access to more preventative-type benefits that will keep them healthy, and hopefully down the road, make them a healthier adult," Arce said.

Iowa was one of 23 states to receive a performance bonus for successfully signing up so many uninsured children. "By educating people and providing information on preventative services that are available to them, it just makes the community much healthier in the long run," Arce said.

While some patients here at Siouxland Community Health Center are very excited about their marketplace health coverage starting up, there are some organizations who still say that they're waiting for some changes in the Affordable Care Act to work themselves out.
Some religiously-affiliated health care providers, like Mercy Medical Center, are still hoping they won't be required to provide contraceptives and other related procedures and medications to employees and patients.

A Supreme Court judge ruled that for-profit and not-for-profit religious organizations would be exempt, but church-affiliated organizations are different. "We are not exempt, but we're advocating to be included. We've worked together to advocate to broaden that religious definition so that Catholic universities and hospitals that are ministries of the church would be also exempted from that requirement," Jim Spencer, Exec Director of Mission, Ethics and Spiritual Care at Mercy Hospital said.
Jim Spencer says he's optimistic about changes in the coming months. "I think we're just allowing the law to work itself out. We feel that it's important to not be forced to violate our religious values while we continue to serve in the healthcare ministry," Spencer said.

The deadline to sign up for any health care plan is still a few months off on, March 31st. That's the date you'll start being penalized if you haven't signed up for coverage.
If you have any health care questions, you can click on the health tab at the top of the page.
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