Obamacare Q&A: Two state senators & Ohio Association of Foodbanks host public discussion

CLEVELAND - Two state senators and the Ohio Association of Foodbanks hosted a discussion on the future of health care Monday.

"A lot of folks want to know what it means for them and their families," said Jason Elchert, deputy director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. "It is a very individualized need and people need to think about that."

The two-hour program was held at the Centers for Families and Children in downtown Cleveland. State senators Shirley Smith and Capri Cafaro and other organizers discussed Obamacare's health insurance marketplace: what it is, who's eligible and how enrollment works. They also discussed the Medicaid expansion bill and what it means if that bill becomes law.

"I need healthcare so it caught my attention," said Deon Hudson-Buy.

Hudson-Buy was one of a dozen participants of the program. The 29-year-old stopped by because he was curious about health insurance costs. Currently, he's in school to get his GED and eager to get a job so he can afford health insurance. But now, he lives in a homeless shelter.

"It gave me hope, and I got to get myself together," said Hudson-Buy.

"I'm getting older," said Barbara Pensgen, another participant. "I have aches and pains, things are going wrong, you never know what something is going to happen."

Pensgen, a Cleveland resident, has been without health insurance for two years. She said she can't afford it. But, she's hoping to find a plan on the health insurance marketplace.

"I'm definitely going to call a navigator and make an appointment," added Pensgen.

Pensgen said she learned about medical navigators Monday night while Philip Cox, another participant, learned the importance of doing his homework.

"Get as much information as you can and make a reasonable choice," said Cox.

Cox, who lives in Portage County, said he is gathering information now so he can have the right health insurance plan in place when he retires next year.

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