Coalition helps residents navigate healthcare reform

In three months, the mandated Affordable Healthcare Act kicks in, requiring all Americans to purchase health insurance. It's been three years in the making. But those involved with the Louisiana Healthcare Education Coalition say they're not so sure everyone is informed on how exactly to enroll.

In 96 days, open enrollment begins. But leaders with LHEC say it's a complicated process-one majority of the public does not understand.

“It's about three months away and there's a low level of awareness about this, how to do it, subsidies, tax credits for small businesses,” said LHEC spokesperson John Maginnis. “There's a lot to know.”

There will be fines for those who fail to enroll in a health plan. Enrolling can all be done online, but coalition leaders say navigating through all the information won't be easy, so people need to take an active role.

“You may be eligible for a subsidy. So, you'll enter your income, number of people in your family, dependents, so it will be fairly complex,” said Dr. Rodney Wise, Medical Director for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana.

And shopping for a plan will be similar to using sites like Travelocity where you can compare companies and prices to a myriad of options.

Dr. Wise said BCBSLA will be offering over 100 different coverage plans. The coalition is hoping people will take the new mandate seriously.

“We want everyone to take advantage of the provisions of the law and live a healthy, happy life here in Louisiana,” said Maginnis.

For more information on the new healthcare provisions, visit <;.

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