Tulsans Prepare for Affordable Care Act

On the eve of healthcare enrollment, Tulsans are examining the new options coming its way."Beginning tomorrow, the landscape opens up even more," said North Tulsa Economic Development Initiative representative, Dr. Lana Turner-Addison. That organization is holding an informational session Monday evening to help answer questions community members might have regarding the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare."Turner-Addison said people in North Tulsa generally live 14 years less than others in the community. She attributed that, in part, to a lack of healthcare. She said many in North Tulsa are excited about the new options that will become available for enrollment Tuesday.However, there are still many questions that remain regarding how enrollment will work.Debby Raskin is the director of human resources at Domestic Violence Intervention Services. She oversees 88 workers' benefits and said she has answered several questions over the past several weeks.Raskin said those with insurance through an employer do not need to log-in to to enroll in a plan but may shop in the exchange for a better deal. She said it is still uncertain if the new, government-mandated insurance will mean higher insurance costs for everyone down the road. However, Turner-Addison said no immediate changes are expected.Oklahoma did not establish its own healthcare exchange. However, local experts said Oklahomans may still log into the federal government's exchange to shop.Under the Affordable Care Act, insurers cannot deny coverage based on pre-existing medical conditions. Some young people under 26 are eligible to stay on their parents' insurance. Those that do not get insurance are subject to a fine.Magoon and Associates Insurance estimated that about 700,000 Oklahomans are uninsured. Enrollment begins October 1st. The insurance plans are expected to start January 1st.