(West Memphis, AR) The State of Arkansas is promoting its new health insurance exchange program.
It's called the Health Insurance Marketplace. It's goal is to partner with the federal government and help the uninsured or under-insured shop for, choose, and enroll in private health plans at affordable prices.
Susan Brewington sees the need everyday at the Crittenden County Health Department.
"We see people all the time who don't have any insurance," Brewington said.
Brewington is the health department administrator and a registered nurse. She said the new program could save lives.
"It can prevent a lot of the chronic problems that end up killing us as we get older. Stroke is the main cause of death in this part of the country," Brewington said.
The Insurance Marketplace will mean no one will denied coverage due to pre-existing health conditions and many preventive health services will be available at no expense.
Deborah Stanley brought her granddaughter to the health department today. She says the lack of insurance for many people is a problem that must be addressed.
"I know a lot of people are doing without their insulin and doing without their medicine because they can't afford it," Stanley said.
Christiana Pedrosa agrees additional help is needed for many people living in Arkansas.
"Some people aren't working and they need stuff like this to help them out," Pedrosa said.
But others like Sharda Witherspoon hope the program won't be mandated.
"I feel it's good for others that need health insurance to go to the doctor and want people to help them at a doctor's office, but not to mandate it for everyone," Witherspoon said.
Starting in October, Arkansans will be allowed to review their options for a plan
health experts such as Susan Brewington believe could improve the lives of many people.
"Oh, I think it's going to be great," Brewington said.
If you'd like more information about the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace, you can call the Crittenden County Health Department at 901-735-4334.