Church to hold community forum

Published 8:52 pm Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The North Carolina Justice Center’s Health Access Coalition will hold a community forum at Metropolitan AME Zion Church in Washington, Thursday night, to educate the public about the Affordable Care Act. The forum is part of the coalition’s recent travel across the state to hold community conversations about the act.

“This forum will discuss expansion of Medicaid,” said Claudia Stokes, outreach and enrollment coordinator for Beaufort and Martin counties. “We have had quite a few people enroll in the Affordable Care Act. However, this act is for people who are employed so there are a lot of people who have fallen through the cracks.”

According to Nicole Dozier, assistant director of Health Access Coalition of the NC Justice Center, the meeting is a result Beaufort County being a Tier one, or low-income, county, leaving many uninsured. The discussion will educate people as to what the act means.

“It provides more access, more quality, more affordability for more North Carolinians,” said Dozier.

Dozier said that the forum will address provisions such as increased wellness and preventive visits that are co-pay free as well as pre-existing conditions no longer being part of the equation.

“We want to let people know that they should be trying to go ahead and enroll in the online marketplace,” Dozier said.

According to Dozier, individuals that meet certain income requirements will qualify for a subsidy, which will help pay their premiums. While some are moving forward with implementation of coverage, there are still an estimated 500,000 North Carolinians who will not benefit from the act due to the blocking of Medicaid expansion by NC lawmakers.

“You can actually be too low-income to get help,” Dozier said. “If we had expanded Medicaid, then it would be different. We want to let people know, though, that our lawmakers can change their minds and expand the program to cover this large group of people who work every day but just don’t make enough money to pay for insurance or subsidies through the market place.”

According to Dozier, she received a phone call Wednesday morning from a Beaufrot County gentleman who does not meet the income requirement for a subsidy through the market place and cannot afford his own insurance.

“Expanding the Medicaid program would provide him with the help he needs to go to the doctor more often to take care of his condition so he could work more, make more money, and contribute more to the community he lives in and loves,” Dozier said.

The forum will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Metropolitan AME Zion Church located at 102 West Martin Luther King Dr. in Washington.

To reserve your place or for more information, call Claudia Stokes at 252-702-8337 or Nicole Dozier at 919-272-3593 or email