EYE ON HEALTH: Health Care Donut Hole - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

EYE ON HEALTH: Health Care Donut Hole

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Terri Whiteside and her family are the faces of the uninsured.

Terri Whiteside says "We fell in that crack of he made too much or we were in between."

When the Affordable Care Act was passed, Terri says she thought their problems were solved when it came to health insurance.

Terri Whiteside says "We couldn't afford it, but we couldn't get the insurance."

Several states including Tennessee and Georgia have rejected the Medicaid expansion.

In states that choose not to expand Medicaid eligibility, there's a donut hole for those who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to qualify for cost-saving subsidies under the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare.

Terri said her family found themselves in that donut hole and that's when she turned to Cherokee Health Systems for help after a miscarriage.

Dr. Dennis Freeman Cherokee Health Systems says "We hope that Medicaid will be expanded to cover everybody. So many people without insurance don't know there is a place to go."

Current statistics show there are around 45,000 uninsured people living in Hamilton County.   

Terri Whiteside says "So it's scary, it's like choosing do I go get checked or do I save the money to take care of my children"

And unfortunately in several cases, people put off their health care.

Dr Dennis Freeman says "We see people all the time who have delayed care past the point of when it is easy to treat them and sometimes the consequences are very unfortunate."

While Terri says they still turn to Cherokee Health Systems, she says they recently purchased insurance for $180 a week, which amounts to a very large part of their budget, leaving them without funds for much else.

Terri Whiteside says "We have so many people out there that want to do the right thing and get insurance, but they need a little help."


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