, Muskogee, OK

October 1, 2013

Seek info on Affordable Care Act

— Like it or not, the Affordable Care Act is open for business.

Open enrollment through the Health Insurance Marketplace, a part of the Affordable Care Act, is ongoing. More than 600,000 Oklahoma residents do not have health insurance. This will give those without insurance a way to shop for coverage. Those who are uninsured after March 31 may face a penalty.

There is some confusion about the act. Oklahoma opted against the creation of a state-based marketplace for consumers to shop for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

That does not mean Oklahomans cannot receive insurance. It just means Oklahomans must enroll through the Health Insurance Marketplace. Consumers can shop, compare and buy health insurance plans online at or with help from trained navigators and counselors.

Good health is a vital part of a strong state and nation.

Whether the Affordable Care Act is good or bad is a discussion for another day.

The fact is, it is here. It is the law of the land. And in the future, if you don’t have insurance you will face penalties.

It’s no secret part of the high cost of health care is in place to offset the uninsured who receive care and never pay.

We encourage those who are uninsured to seek information and get insured.

What to do

Information: Toll-free number: (800) 318-2596.

To go online and check out the Health Insurance Marketplace:

For help

To get assistance understanding the Affordable Care Act and the Health Insurance Marketplace:

• Muskogee County Community Action Foundation Inc., (918) 683-2431, or

• Muskogee Health Center, (918) 682-0222.

• Porter Health Center, (918) 483-0111.

• Northeast Oklahoma Community Action Agency Inc., Cherokee County, (918) 253-4683.

• Community Action Resource & Development Inc., Wagoner County, (918) 341-5000.

• Deep Fork Community Action Foundation Inc., McIntosh County, (918) 756-2826.

• Northeastern Oklahoma Community Health Centers Inc., ,Muskogee, Hulbert, Tahlequah, (918) 772-3390, or

• Health & Wellness Center Inc., Checotah, (918) 473-0048, or