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Free help with Affordable Health Care Act available in McAlester [McAlester News-Capital, Okla.]

By Jeanne LeFlore, McAlester News-Capital, Okla.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Nov. 11--MCALESTER -- Those needing more information or help signing up for the new Affordable Health Care Act and other health insurance can now get free help in McAlester.

Christi Walker of Caring Hands Health Care is a trained certified application counselor and she said she provides free assistance and answers questions for those applying for health care coverage.

"My job is to help individuals and business owners understand the coverage options available through the new Health Insurance Marketplace, Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program," Walker said.

She said she helps determine eligibility and assist with enrollment.

Walker said she can also help with referrals for other government programs such as Sooner Care.

She said she's been trained for several different insurance programs including the Affordable Care Act's Health Insurance Marketplace.

"Many people have questions about the new Affordable Care Act and I help reassure them and I help them get enrolled," Walker said.

"Most people are happy when they find out what insurance is available to them."

She said enrollment in the Marketplace started in October and the coverage will start Jan. 1, 2014.

Walker said many of the people she helps are senior citizens and others who don't have access to the Internet and need help applying for health insurance.

She said she was born and raised in McAlester said she's excited to be helping people from her hometown.

"A lot of this is new and it can be scary when you are making such big decisions and I want to help people as much as I can," Walker said.

She said she's working with the McAlester Public Library to conduct a group class in the near future.

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She also available to give presentations to local businesses to help explain the new insurance options, she said.

Meanwhile Walker said she understands the changes can be scary and many people have uncertain opinions about the Affordable Care Act.

"The unknown is scary, but we have to start somewhere and this is a step in the right direction." Walker said.

She is available in her office Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Caring Hands Health Care Center is at 727 E. Wyandotte, McAlester.

Contact her at 918-426-0900.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.

___

(c)2013 the McAlester News-Capital (McAlester, Okla.)

Visit the McAlester News-Capital (McAlester, Okla.) at mcalesternews.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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