One women's experience in negotiating the waters of Obamacare - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

One women's experience in negotiating the waters of Obamacare

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GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Flo Williams went to the Affordable Care Act website, Healthcare.gov, to find out what it would cost her son to sign up.

"It said, 'What do you make? Between $0 and $49,000.'" Williams recalled. "And the insurance, they said was it's going to be Humana and it was going to be $600 a month and $6,300 deductible."

The national website instructed Williams to contact Medicaid. She said her son is only making $12,000 a year, which is just above the poverty level for a single person. In the U.S., the poverty level for a single person is someone making $11,490 or less. It's $23,550 for a family of four.

"So I called Medicaid up in Jackson and he said he doesn't qualify because he doesn't have a family," Williams said. "He had a family, but doesn't have a wife or children. So he doesn't qualify for that. So I said, 'What does he do?' I don't know what he does."

Williams said she was shocked by what she heard over the telephone.

"Medicaid doesn't want him, Obamacare doesn't want him, so what do we do? How is someone going to be able to pay $600 a month for health insurance?"

Eventually, Williams was directed to the Coastal Family Health Center in Biloxi where she learned her son does qualify for coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

I spoke to Outreach and Enrollment Coordinator Danielle Davis-Polk about what a single person making just $12,000 a year has to pay for a health plan through the Affordable Care Act.

"It could be anywhere from $50 to $100... it just depends on the income amount and then if he smokes," Davis-Polk said. "Once we input the information into the system, the system generates the premium amounts and then it up them if they want just basic health coverage; if they want health and vision; or health, vision and dental."

Help enrolling in Obamacare is available at any of the eight Coastal Family Health Centers.

"Anyone can come in, we actually prefer that anyone can come in. That way they have a peace of mind and they know exactly what they are looking at, if they'll be faced with penalties or if they're going to be able to get coverage," Davis-Polk said.

If someone doesn't qualify, Coastal Family Health offers medical care that is based on a person's income.

The hassle and frustration of it all left Flo Williams with one thought.

"It just seems like we have gone backwards in our time instead of going forward."

Mississippi and South Dakota have the lowest enrollment rates for Obamacare in the United States. Open enrollment for health coverage through Obamacare ends on March 31.

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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