VIM adapting as Affordable Health Care Act nears
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- The Affordable Healthcare Act goes into affect January first, and local clinics are preparing to make the change. Change on the federal level means change on the local level for Volunteers in Medicine.
VIM will service less people after January first, but they want it to be known they're not going anywhere, and there's still a large percent that they will need to help.
"The world of health care is changing. It's different now than when we set up this clinic ten years ago, and it will probably be different five years from now," said VIM President Nancy Franks.
Volunteers in Medicine has watched health care change much since they opened, but nothing as drastic as the affordable health care plan set to take effect on January first.
Franks says they will continue to adapt, "we want to relay to the community that we're here, and we're going to be here and we're going to help those folks who do not have options for Affordable Heath Care."
Since opening this clinic eight years ago VIM has delivered more than $15-million worth of health care for more than 45,000 patients but after January first roughly 15% of those patients will no longer be eligible for VIM's free service.
Right now, people who make double the poverty level are eligible. Next year, you can't make more than one and a half times.
Franks says they have crunched the numbers and those 15% will now be able to buy affordable health care.
It is difficult, but the good news is they do finally have an affordable option out there that they didn't have 10 years ago when we were planning this clinic.
VIM won't just send that 15% packing they're going to give them options of places to find and buy affordable health care.
Even after January first Franks says roughly one in eight under the age of 65 in the area will still not be able to afford health care. That's why they've only dropped the cut off to roughly $23,000 for a household of two.
Of course the numbers change with the amount of people in your household. For more numbers click here