League of Women Voters host health-care discussion

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Attendees of the Jeffco League of Women Voters “Understanding the Affordable Care Act” received a lot of information on a complex law.

The Feb. 6 panel discussion at St. Anthony Hospital featured experts in various health and policy areas who spoke about what the ACA will do, and how it will affect people.

“There are a lot of questions about the ACA, but we have a wealth of knowledge and expertise on our panel,” said League president Ann Roux.

The panel speakers were: George Lyford, an attorney with The Colorado Center on Law and Policy; Matthew Valeta, a health policy fellow; Adela Flores-Brennan, manager, a navigator with the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange; and Wendy Tenzyk, director of insurance for the Public Employees’ Retirement Association of CO (PERA).

“We’re here to talk about the ACA, and there are a lot of facts, and a lot of groups who have their own sets of facts,” Lyford said. “We’re here to distill that and tell you what the law actually does.”

Topics discussed ranged from the insurance market reforms that will be a result of the ACA, which Valeta spoke about. One thing he discussed is the “80/20 rule” which states that 80 percent of insurance premiums are spent on medical care and 20 percent is spent on administrative costs.

Lyford discussed the four major access points that people will have for health care — employer-based coverage, Medicaid, exchanges and Medicare. He added that there is still a lot of work to do, like making certain regulatory changes align with the ACA and getting the health care exchanges up and running.

Flores-Brennan spoke about the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange, which will be open on Oct. 1, and give people a place to shop and compare prices when looking for insurance. She is a navigator who will be helping people find their way through the exchange, and promised that customer service will be a huge part of the exchange. Finally, Tenzyk spoke about PERA, which is the largest retirement plan in the state, since it includes many teachers and government employees. She said PERA has been studying the affects of the law, and will continue to provide services to its members.

Rita Hyland, a Centennial resident who has been traveling to many similar discussions, said that she found it informative, but she still has questions.

“I’m currently uninsured, and am wondering about the cap on deductibles. I also want to know who is going to ultimately pay for this?” she said. “I did feel like I learned something though, since it is a very, very complex law.”

For more information about the meeting, visit www.lwvjeffco.org.