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Thousands in St. Joseph and Marshall counties are uninsured

Thousands of people in St. Joseph and Marshall counties do not have health insurance but local organizations are working to change that.

“I was married and insured through my husband’s insurance for more than 20 years,” St. Joseph County resident Alice Moore said. “He passed away in 2010.”

That is when Moore began struggling to find healthcare.

Moore paid for various plans throughout recent years but found herself struggling to pay her health insurance bill in 2013.

She eventually dropped her insurance because she said it was too expensive.

“Having insurance all that time and then not having it for a span of maybe about a year or so was kind of difficult,” Moore said.

But in the spring of 2014, when the Affordable Care Act went into effect, Moore was able to get insurance again, and just in time.

“April of 2014 is when I paid my first premium,” Moore said. “By May 2014, I was sick.”

Moore was diagnosed with a chronic illness.

“I would be swamped with bills [if I didn’t have insurance],” Moore said.

Covering Kids and Families of North Central Indiana Director Jim Baxter said a lot of people are not as lucky as Moore because they don’t have insurance.

“There are still over 14,000 people without health insurance [in St. Joseph and Marshall counties],” Baxter said.

Baxter’s organization is working with local hospitals and medical clinics to help guide uninsured people to affordable health insurance.

“We have an outreach component where we’re trying to tell people to call the navigators,” Baxter said.    

The navigators are trained professionals who can guide someone to finding affordable healthcare – and they do it for free.

Some local Michiana navigators can be found at:

  • Beacon Health Systems
  • St. Joseph Regional Medical Center locations
  • HealthLinc
  • Indiana Health Centers
  • Bowen Centers
  • IHC Bendix Family Physicians

Moore, who is now in remission, said contacting a navigator is a must for every uninsured person in St. Joseph and Marshall counties.

“I would recommend that everyone at least just go and apply,” Moore said.

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