YRMC holds enrollment fair for AZ Medicaid Program

YRMC holds enrollment fair for AZ Medicaid Program

Story By: Tim Lavigne, Meteorologist and Reporter

YUMA, Ariz (13 On Your Side) - As millions of Americans sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, our local hospital is making sure no one is left behind.

Saturday, the Yuma Regional Medical Center held an Enrollment Fair for their system also known as AHCCCS. Previously, the system only made eligible low-income applicants who had a major disease such as cancer, or had a child under the age of 18.

Now, the program is being offered to anyone who fits a minimum income requirement.

Nancy Donelson was one of those applicants. Donelson, a retiree, who lives on a quarter of her original salary, did not have the money to seek health coverage.

"I was very excited when I saw they were going to do the health fair, because I tried to enroll online, and its not the easiest process," said Donelson. Donelson was one of more than 250 people who can now say they are covered by AHCCCS.

Clarissa DeCarlo, a Community Outreach officer for the hospital, says making sure everyone has coverage, no matter their financial situation, is very important. "when you don't have coverage, you don't go to the hospital, and you wait and wait, until its too late, and you have go to the emergency room which costs so much more than if you had seen a primary care physician." says DeCarlo.

DeCarlo says AHCCCS won't break the budget of those who are already struggling to make ends meet. "There are no monthly premiums or fees that go with having the coverage, if it is used there may be a small co-pay that patients will have to pay when they get treatment."

As for Donelson, Saturdays plan was to get covered, her new plan.... stay out of the hospital.

For more information on how to apply for the AHCCCS coverage, and if you qualify... go to www.healthearizonaplus.gov.