Family Ends Long Period without Insurance

Read Keith Moens’s story

Keith Moens

Keith Moens (R)

When CBHC first talked with Keith Moens, he and his family were emerging from a long period without health insurance. Having signed up for health coverage through the newly-opened Health Insurance Marketplace, they were pleased to finally have coverage again.

Now, a year later, they are happy with their Marketplace plan and have recently renewed it.

Before losing their jobs, Keith and his wife never had to worry much about health insurance. It was provided by their employers.

Suddenly, they were faced with several untenable options: paying exorbitant premiums for COBRA, finding a private plan despite Keith’s wife’s preexisting condition, or living without health coverage and paying healthcare costs themselves on a limited budget. (more…)

Illinois Teen Gets Covered

Read Johnathan Hill’s story

Johnathan Hill

Johnathan Hill, Hometown

Johnathan spent a year uninsured. Now, thanks to ACA expanded adult Medicaid, he is able to access the care he needs.

About a year ago, Johnathan Hill – then 18 years oldl – found himself uninsured.

Previously covered under his mother’s insurance, Hill and his mother had anticipated that Hill would switch to his father’s plan. Once he had been dropped from his mother’s plan, however, Hill’s father realized that he could not afford to add Johnathan to his coverage plan.

Without coverage from either parent, and no coverage offered by his part-time employer, Johnathan was stuck.

“I didn’t visit the doctor,” says Hill. (more…)

Days Before A Health Emergency

Read Timothy Royce’s story
Timothy Royce

Timothy Royce, Blue Island

Timothy Royce struggled to manage his COPD before he enrolled in Medicaid. Luckily, he enrolled in time to fill his dwindling prescription supply and to cope with an unexpected emergency.

When Timothy Royce slipped and fell in the shower, he was certain he had broken his ribs. Intense pain accompanied a huge bruise along his side. “It really, really hurt,” he says.

Luckily, Royce enrolled in Medicaid just about a week prior to his accident. Royce says that he and his wife got word of a Campaign for Better Health Care navigator, Cheryl Gay, who was enrolling patrons of a local food bank in health care plans. Both decided to enroll during a routine visit to the food bank. (more…)

Veterans Health on Chicago’s Home Fronts

Veterans Health on Chicago’s Home Fronts
Veterans Joe Franzese, Patrick Philipps, Brian Hatlen, Mike Breyne and Chiquita Griffis at a drill weekend at the North Riverside Armory

Illinois Warrior to Warrior Veterans Joe Franzese, Patrick Philipps, Brian Hatlen, Mike Breyne and Chiquita Griffis at a drill weekend at the North Riverside Armory.

Inside the North Riverside Armory just west of Chicago on an unseasonably cold and gray April day, Illinois National Guard members in camouflage stand at attention as several of their colleagues are called forward to be promoted. (more…)

Mind the Information Gap: Few Chicagoans Understanding Health Reform

Mind the Information Gap
Derek Malone sat outside Cook County’s Fantus Clinic in the brilliant fall sunshine, looking  tired and discouraged.  His stomach hurt and he felt dizzy.  It’d been weeks since the 55-year-old had taken medications for his high blood pressure and intestinal ailments – prescriptions he says he can’t afford.

“Ten dollars for a co-pay, I don’t have that,” said Malone, who’s been unemployed and homeless since earlier this year, when his daughter lost a job at a McDonald’s and stopped paying her father to look after her four young children.

“I have zero income, and I get no kind of benefits,” Malone said as resignation crept into his gravelly voice.  “The future, man it’s bleak for poor folks like me.   I ain’t got no cell phone, no medical card, nothing.  You can’t sleep in the streets, the police run you out of the parks.  These programs out there, to them I ain’t nothing but a number.  It’s a mighty hard pill to swallow.” (more…)

Wellness on the Westside

Wellness on the Westside
Organizations with strong community ties, such as Lawndale Christian Health Center in Chicago’s West Side, will be better able to serve their patients under the Affordable Care Act. Already emphasizing preventive care and a coordinated approach to patient management, including long-term monitoring of chronic problems such as heart disease and diabetes, LCHC and its community stand to benefit from ACA provisions that provide patients with free preventive care, expanded insurance options and federal investments in community health centers in underserved areas. The Lawndale community has one of the highest uninsurance rates in Illinois; under the ACA, organizations like LCHC will continue to serve as a primary care medical home for thousands of patients in this Chicago neighborhood, and will hopefully see more patients, because they will be able to afford insurance for the first time. (more…)
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Illinois Health Matters showcases personal stories that illustrate the difference health reform makes for real people in Illinois.