Last updated: November 18. 2013 1:50PM - 2448 Views
By - aholliday@civitasmedia.com

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HAZARD—Numerous changes have come to the health care world in the last few months. Affordable insurance is now available to everyone in the country, many who could not afford insurance can now qualify for Medicaid in Kentucky and several other states, and by 2014 there seemingly should not be a person in the country who is not covered by some form of health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This is why Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) has announced its decision to no longer see uninsured patients outside of the emergency room starting next year.

ARH Executive Public Relations Director Melissa Cornett released a statement from ARH to the Herald on Friday.

“In October, Appalachian Regional Healthcare notified the uninsured patients that had been treated at an ARH facility in the past three months of changes that will be brought on by the Affordable Car Act,” the statement read. “The letter informed patients that consistent with the Affordable Care Act, everyone is expected to have some form of health insurance effective Jan. 1, 2014. As such, ARH will no longer see patients for non-emergent services who have not complied with this expectation.”

According to the statement, ARH has always been committed to caring for everyone in the region with or without insurance, providing $142.8 million in uncompensated care in all of its 10 hospitals in the last year alone. In 2008, ARH received the Hospital Service Award, an award given to the institution dedicated to improving the health and well-being of those uninsured in the state.

“Many of the programs in place to help cover a portion of the cost of caring for the uninsured will no longer be available as part of the Affordable Care Act,” according to the statement. “ARH has recommended its uninsured patients take the time to get more information about their possibility of qualifying for Medicaid as a means of health coverage.”

The Herald reported earlier this year that in 2012, 17.9 percent of Perry Countians — around 4,400 people — were uninsured; under the ACA and Medicaid expansion, 17.8 percent of those uninsured will be covered.

According to the letter sent to patients of ARH on Oct. 18, to ensure coverage is effective by Jan. 1, 2014, patients need to enroll by Nov. 30. Certified Application Counselors (CAC) are available at ARH hospitals to assist anyone in need of help with enrollment.

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