ym

She struggles with the fact that there are still individuals defined by their income…”that’s not the goal if we want a healthy United States.”

Kym Hollars is a Resource Navigator at Goodwill Industries and is the only Certified Application Counselor at the facility.  In the backroom offices at Goodwill, a former Stryker facility, we learned that at this Goodwill some of the donated items are sorted and sent to other locations in Southwest Michigan.  However, the profit made from those items sold at this particular location go into providing the various free programs that they offer here such as employment, education, and training services for the community.

At Goodwill, Kym has helped many of the other “team members” through the process of enrolling for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and Healthy Michigan.  She told us that there are ten Goodwill stores in all of Southwest Michigan, with a total of 253 team members.  Before the new healthcare reform, only about 68 members had health insurance, outside of the free optical and dental that is provided through Goodwill.  However, there are 183 team members that have become enrolled and now have health insurance since the ACA was enacted.  Kym stated that “as far as health care in terms of the bigger picture, there’s always those individuals that will fall through the cracks.  But in terms of health care and the bigger picture, it will be beneficial.”

Kym related to us that initially a lot of people were discouraged because they tried to enroll and it didn’t work out, when enrollment efforts were in its initial stages.  The “middle group” of enrollees had a high success rate, however now the ending group can’t find physicians that are accepting Medicaid and don’t know where else to go.  She said that it is hard to find a participating physician accepting Medicaid, and currently feels as if it is “a waiting game to see if you physician will open up.”

Through her enrollment experiences helping others gain insurance, Kym was glad that a lot of single individuals, who fell through the cracks, are now getting coverage.  Kym stated that Healthy Michigan is really good because those insured receive copays, but eventually people get weaned down and will have to pay out of pocket.  Kym also stated that many individuals who are newly insured are not used to regular hospital check ups.  She worries that they will not “know age related testing [because] if people don’t go to the doctor often, how do they know what questions to ask…to know what to do and where to go?”  According to Kym, all we can do now is provide people with information and put that out there, but eventually everyone will get healthy.

When asked if she could change an aspect of our health care system, Kym said that everything should be equitable, without Medicaid and tiers of insurance.  She struggles with the fact that there are still individuals defined by their income.  According to Kym, “that’s not what the goal is if we want a healthy United States.”  Kym also worries about the effects that the raise in minimum wage will have on those newly enrolled, specifically those who now have Healthy Michigan.  Come September 1st, people whose annual income increases will no longer be eligible for Healthy Michigan once the next enrollment period comes around.  This will most likely leave them on the borderline and unable to afford insurance once the next enrollment period comes around.  Through her work at Goodwill, Kym illustrates the many ways the community is dedicated to making the Kalamazoo community a healthier place to live.

 

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