NAACP Health Fair answers ACA questions for Peoria Residents

By WEEK Reporter

November 11, 2013 Updated Nov 11, 2013 at 11:38 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- With the Affordable Care Act well into its second week more people are finding that they are simply lost in translation.

"There's a lot of people, in African American community especially, that the info hasn't trickled down to," said Dale Jackson, NAACP Health Fair Organizer.

That is why Peoria resident Sherry Gordon went to the health fair Saturday hosted by the NAACP and the peoria progressive golf club.

"I want to pick a plan that's good for me for my age my family...what best suits me and my budget," said Gordon.

The fair is a carnival of information and services with booths headed by the Red Cross, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and more. Attendees could give blood, take their blood pressure, screen for diseases like HIV and take educational pamphlets at no cost.
Gordon said the best part of the fair is that she can finally get some answers. Gordon is still trying to pay off a $40,000 dollar surgery that she had last year. The surgery was a necessity, but her pre-existing conditions kept her from getting covered and kept her from getting covered.

"It was hard because you refrain from going to the doctor because you know a bill will come," said Gordon.

Gordon met with Brittney Wallace, an ACA enrollment specialist at the fair who said that Gordon's case is a prime example as to why the law was put into place.

"It's for people who don't have insurance or people who pay out of pocket or pay too much," said Wallace.

Wallace sat down with many community members like Gordon.
She showed them what plans suited each visitor best. Wallace said that a plus to the new law is that it focuses on keeping people healthy instead treating people after they're sick.

"If you have a headache now and it end up turning into an aneurism, then you can call [the doctor], get that checked and possibly do something about it," said Wallace. "A lot of people now only go to the doctor when it's too late. "

Gordon appreciated that she was able to hear that kind of advice in person at the health fair.

"We can't get all the information we need just on pamphlets," said Gordon. "It helps to have a person face to face that you can interact with to help us find out what we need to know."

"I'm hoping they discover that they have options and that they're not stuck in a corner and it's not the end of the world," said Wallace.