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Access to care helps keep our community healthy

Via Christi Health logo and state-run health insurance exchanges are open for business.

But consumers who do not have health insurance need to act quickly, as the open enrollment deadline for choosing the insurance that makes the most sense for them is Saturday, Dec. 15.

While a bill passed last year eliminated the tax penalty for not having health insurance, it’s still important that consumers without group coverage purchase a plan for themselves and their family that best meets their needs. Remember, cost-sharing help and subsidies are available to those who qualify.

It’s also important that consumers exercise care when selecting their health plan as the Administration has allowed the inclusion of cheaper, short-term plans that offer fewer benefits.

While not perfect, the Affordable Care Act continues to extend coverage to the uninsured and make coverage more secure for those who have health insurance.

At Ascension, we remain committed to 100 percent access and 100 percent coverage in the communities we serve as we deliver on our Mission to provide compassionate, personalized care to all.

Healthcare coverage increases individual and family security, helps workers stay healthy and provides opportunity to those who are most vulnerable. As a healthcare community, promoting health and wellness is central to what we do. Everyone should have access to healthcare coverage, especially those who need it most.

Sixty percent of working-age, non-disabled Medicaid enrollees work and nearly eight out of 10 Medicaid recipients live in families with at least one worker. Health coverage helps those workers heal and return to the jobs they hold, allowing them to contribute to Medicare, Social Security and our federal and state tax coffers.

This year, three states – Idaho, Nebraska and Utah – approved Medicaid expansion during the recent midterm elections, thus extending healthcare coverage to more than 300,000 individuals at the lower end of the income spectrum.

Next year, let’s make Kansas the next one to do so as expanding coverage simply makes sense.

But now through the end of the open enrollment period, let’s help and encourage everyone who lacks group coverage to take advantage of the exchanges that give them and their families access to the care they need.

For more information or assistance with enrollment, call our Via Christi insurance navigators at 316-268-0681 or the national toll-free line 1-800-318-2596. To access the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace website and to enroll, go to or call toll-free 24 hours a day: 1-800-318-2596.  Hearing impaired callers: 1-855-889-4325.

About Michael L. Mullins FACHE

Michael L. Mullins, FACHE is senior vice president, Ascension Healthcare, and ministry market executive for Ascension Via Christi, Ascension Kansas, and St. John Health System, Ascension Oklahoma.