1. Isn’t everyone covered by health insurance now under the Affordable Care Act?
No, not at all. Many people in Georgia and Macon-Bibb County remain uninsured even after passage of the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare).
The uninsured include:
- Adults who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to qualify for the new federal insurance exchanges.
- Adults who are not required to purchase insurance due to very low incomes or other hardship categories such as domestic violence or foreclosure.
- Adults who are eligible for insurance on the federal exchange but who cannot afford the high co-pays and deductibles associated with even the most modest insurance plan available under the ACA.
Georgia continues to have one of the highest uninsured rates in the country. Local Census data indicates there are currently over 32,300 adults who lack insurance in Macon-Bibb County. Those without insurance often choose to go without healthcare in order to pay for everyday needs such as groceries and rent.
2. Where do Macon Volunteer Clinic patients come from?
Macon Volunteer Clinic (MVC) patients are working, low-income adults who are not offered insurance by their employers, and who cannot afford to purchase health insurance on their own. Many of our patients are service industry employees who work at restaurants, dry cleaners, daycares, and hotels. They sit with elderly individuals, clean houses, and take care of children. They are the faces of the working uninsured in Bibb County. Without the services of the clinic, 631 MVC patients report they would use the local emergency room for care and 167 MVC patients would use urgent care.
3. How does Macon Volunteer Clinic impact the local community?
By providing quality healthcare to working, uninsured adults, Macon Volunteer Clinic contributes to the health and prosperity of our entire community. MVC provides primary medical, dental, and eye care to adults with multiple and complex medical problems who would otherwise end up in the emergency room due to lack of insurance. This reduces the amount of uncompensated care provided by local hospitals and helps MVC patients avoid additional health complications.
The care provided at MVC helps lower the cost of healthcare for ALL residents of Macon-Bibb County. In fact, a recent University of Georgia study found that $50,000 in emergency room costs is saved each year for every 100 patients treated by Macon Volunteer Clinic or other Georgia charitable clinic. Overall, the value of healthcare provided by MVC in Macon-Bibb County for 2015 exceeded $3.1 million.
4. Why is it so important to treat uninsured adults in Macon-Bibb County?
Health costs and loss of productivity associated with lack of health insurance are staggering. The uninsured are much less likely to have primary care providers than the insured. They also receive less preventive care, dental care, chronic disease management, and behavioral health counseling. Those without insurance are often diagnosed at later, less treatable disease stages than those with insurance. Overall, people with no insurance have worse health outcomes, lower quality of life, and higher mortality rates. MVC patients benefit from a regular source of healthcare and medication assistance, as do the families who rely on their income and the employers who rely on their presence.
5. Who provides MVC medical care?
MVC has over 200 volunteer physicians, nurses, dentists, dental hygienists, and other providers who generously donate their time to help care for patients in need. MVC medical care is overseen by an experienced board-certified physician who serves as Medical Director.
6. What’s the difference between Macon Volunteer Clinic and First Choice Primary Care?
First Choice Primary Care is a federally-funded healthcare clinic. They serve both the insured and uninsured. They receive enhanced Medicare and Medicaid payments, as well as federal grants. Patients are charged according to a sliding fee scale. Macon Volunteer Clinic provides all care free of charge, and only sees low-income working adults who live in Bibb County. MVC receives no federal funding or Medicaid/Medicare payments.
7. Where can I find information on health insurance and the Affordable Care Act?
See https://www.healthcare.gov to find more information about your health insurance options.