Health care rally planned Saturday in Richland

Tri-City HeraldSeptember 25, 2013 

— Information about the state’s new health insurance exchange will be available at a rally Saturday in Richland.

The community outreach event runs from 2 to 5 p.m. at the fingernail stage at Howard Amon Park.

“With so much misinformation and lack of access to accurate information about the new health plans, we felt it important to host a community outreach event to help inform citizens about their options come October,” said Carol Moser, spokeswoman for the rally, in a news release.

She’s also executive director of the Benton Franklin Community Health Alliance.

The rally is being organized by the local Coalition for Affordable Health Care.

Information on health plans offered through the new online exchange will be available and trained “in-person assisters” also will be on hand to answer questions about eligibility and enrollment, the release said.

Open enrollment starts Oct. 1.

Roughly 44,000 residents in Benton and Franklin counties are uninsured, and “a large majority” are eligible for expanded Medicaid or tax credits to buy private insurance through the exchange, the release said.

Under the federal Affordable Care Act, most Americans must have health insurance by next year to pay a penalty.

“Our coalition’s Sept. 28 rally is a prime opportunity to charge up and expand the affordable health care movement in this part of Washington,” said John Christenson, Coalition for Affordable Health Care chairman, in the release. “The rally will publicize the Oct. 1 opening of the Washington Healthplanfinder online marketplace, and celebrate the improvements in people’s health that the expanded Medicaid and subsidized insurance are sure to bring.”

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