Impact of Obamacare in Arkansas

By KOLR10 News

Published 09/05 2013 04:17AM

Updated 09/05 2013 04:21AM

Arkansas Health Connector
SPRINGDALE, Ark. -- Former President Bill Clinton is in Little Rock Wednesday explaining the Affordable Care Act to Arkansans.

In northwest Arkansas, Community Clinic in Springdale has been preparing for how the legislation will affect its patients in the area.

Ninety-thousand northwest Arkansans are uninsured, but that number could soon change.

Community Clinics across NWA are expecting an influx of patients when the affordable care act is implemented.

"Health care has become a privilege, not a right," Kathy Grisham, Executive Director for Community Clinics in northwest Arkansas said.

Grisham has helped provide health care for 30,000 under or uninsured patients for years.

"60,000 people don't have access either because they're uninsured, and can't afford to pay for an office visit up front, or we can't get them in our clinics because we don't have enough providers," she said.

Come October 1st the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare will be available for low and moderate income citizens, and provide health care to many families previously under or uninsured.

"We have been expanding our clinic here. We've added 7,500 square feet for a new family practice clinic and we will add providers to see people."

The natural state is implementing Obamacare in a different way compared to other states.

"Arkansas has chosen to take the federal money, and instead of putting people on a Medicaid program, they're allowing them to buy insurance at an exchange and use the federal money to pay for their insurance coverage," Grisham said.

Coverage, Grisham says could save lives.

"A lot of chronic illnesses can be stopped if they are diagnosed early enough, if people are taught the importance of changing their behaviors early enough,  and that's an awful lot of the Affordable Care Act is aimed at, prevention and wellness."

According to a spokesperson from Blue Cross Blue Shield, insurance companies are still in negotiations with the government so there aren't any solid numbers to compare with your current coverage costs.

Those new rates should be available before Oct. 1st.

More information on the Affordable Care Act and how it will be implemented in Arkansas.

(story contributed by KNWA, Fayetteviille, Ark)

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