By Kendall Prior, The Independent Florida Alligator
January 26, 2015


Uninsured members of the community were able to compare medical insurance options and enroll online at The Wooly over the weekend.

Enroll America, The Links Inc. Gainesville chapter and the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida held the event Saturday to help residents enroll for insurance online before the Feb. 15 final deadline. 

 David O’Malley, the organizer of northern Florida for Enroll America said health insurance is one of the most important things a person can have in life. Without it, people can lose everything else. 

“Medical debt is the largest factor in personal bankruptcy,” O’Malley said. 

He would know. In 2006, he received a double bypass surgery that left him hospitalized. He ended up losing his job, his insurance and his marriage. 

Insurance agents volunteered to help uninsured or underinsured people with online enrollment. For those without an email address, which is required to apply online, there was a table and computer set up for creating personal email addresses. 

The Links Inc., a group of professional women, also provided free medical services such as blood pressure testing and diabetes screening. Members who were nutritionists and a pharmacist were also there to discuss health with participants. 

Dr. Marie Kima, the chair of the health and human services facet of The Links Inc. in Gainesville, said she was proud to volunteer for this cause. 

As a doctor, Kima said she believes getting coverage is the best way for people to promote their health. 

“Health is probably one of the most important things in a person’s life,” Kima said. “My job is to make sure my patients get the best health care possible.” 

The next enrollment event will be Feb. 14, the day before the enrollment deadline.   

For coverage, people need to have their social security numbers, a recent W-2 form or pay stub and current health insurance information, if applicable.

Read more here: http://www.alligator.org/news/local/article_fb1b05a2-a524-11e4-a2ed-9778719c02e2.html

Carson Pedraza

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