HANCOCK - The Affordable Care Act for health insurance coverage is an extensive and complicated piece of legislation, and Monday and Tuesday Ray Sharp is going to do his best to make it as understandable as possible.
Sharp, who is community planning and preparedness manager for the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department in Hancock, said he will give a presentation on the ACA at 7 p.m. Monday at the Public Schools of Calumet, Laurium & Keweenaw commons area, and at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Houghton High School auditorium. The events are free and open to the public.
The talks are sponsored by the Copper Country League of Women Voters, and Sharp said their concerns about the ACA coincide with the concerns of the employees of the health department.
"They're just as interested in getting unbiased information out about the Affordable Care Act, not for or against," he said. "The details are very complicated."
Sharp said the federal government's website, healthcare.gov, has experienced problems since it went live early in October, and he'll explain how to use the site. Since Michigan doesn't have its own website regarding the ACA, Michigan residents must use the federal site.
Users of the healthcare.gov site can find out if they qualify for the recently-expanded Medicaid coverage for Michigan. About 500,000 more Michigan residents will be qualified for Medicaid in the state.
"They will check eligibility based on income," he said.
Based on income, some residents will automatically be placed in the expanded Medicaid program, Sharp said. Those above the level will be eligible to go to the marketplace to find insurance coverage.
"That's where the tax credits come in," he said.
People who must use the marketplace to find insurance may be eligible for tax credits, Sharp said.
Some people may already have insurance through their place of business, in which case they wouldn't have to do anything regarding coverage.
Sharp said his presentation will include a five-minute video about the ACA.
After his talk, he will take questions from the audience.