Crowds Gather In Fort Smith For Affordable Care Act

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Big crowds met Thursday night in Fort Smith to discuss the nationwide Affordable Care Act. The Arkansas Minority Heath Commission met at the St. James Missionary Baptist Church outlining the Affordable Care Act. Those at the meeting said it's vital for potential recipients to sign up if they don`t have medical insurance.

"If you do not get insurance you will pay a penalty on your tax forms,” said Curtisstine May-Forte. “You don't have to worry about; I can't go to the doctor because I don't have insurance."

The act was signed into law in 2010. A few benefits pointed out by advocates of the act include a provision allowing children to stay on their parents insurance until the age of 26, insurance companies not being allowed to deny coverage of a child under the age of 19 due to their health conditions, and no out-of pocket cost to the consumer for preventative care.

There are 500,000 people in the state of Arkansas without health insurance. The dean of Health Sciences at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith said that the law's implementation is a major step for people without health insurance in the area.

"We were just told in this forum that there’s no lifetime limit on health insurance,” said Carolyn Mosley. “Right now, if you have a catastrophic illness and the insurance may cap you and say that you've exhausted your insurance---we can longer pay for the treatment. This new health care affordable act now erases that."

The Arkansas Minority Health Commission said the plan will hopefully provide health insurance to 250,000 citizens in the state slashing the number of uninsured in Arkansas in half.

More advancements in the act are scheduled to occur on the first of next year.