The Affordable Care Act and you: part 13

By WEEK Producer

December 11, 2013 Updated Dec 11, 2013 at 8:09 PM CDT

NORMAL, Ill. -- The number of Illinois residents who enrolled in Obamacare last month was up substantially from October.

More than seven-thousand people have now enrolled, some with the assistance of counselors.

Eric Greene talks to one of those enrollees in this week's ACA in Illinois Report.

Brandi Wamhoff is an ACA In-Person Counselor at the McLean County Health Department.

Here she is meeting with Kay Bonvouloir of Normal. Kay is a widow on a fixed income who lives with her daughter, Barb, who works part-time. Barb has health issues and neither of them have insurance.

Before Obamacare, they would check insurance company websites.

"Some of them were twice as much as what she [Barb] makes in a year, and that was absurd,” Kay said.

The Bonvouloir's felt some hope when the ACA became law, but didn't know where to turn.

"And then I heard on your station, the Peoria Health Department was doing counseling,” Kay said.

Thanks to a grant, many health departments hired trained and certified in-person counselors. Kay called the McLean County Health Department and got in to meet with Brandi.

"She asked questions, and she was very emphatic that it wasn't going to go any further, the info that we gave her, so we were comfortable with that,” she said.

With Kay's fixed income and Barb's limited hours at work, Brandi found they were eligible for the expanded Medicaid with no premiums.

"We have seen 121 individuals. Of those 121, 69-percent were eligible for Medicaid expansion, and 31-percent were eligible for plans on the marketplace,” said Laura Beavers, McLean County Health Deparment Community Outreach Coordinator.

The McLean County counselors are booked through December 23, the deadline to enroll to get coverage on January 1.

Still, call your local health department, they may be able to get you hooked up with a counselor at a partner agency that also works with the under-insured

ACA enrollment continues through March 15.