BAKERSFIELD, Calif. --
Kern Medical Center participates in a county- and federally funded pilot program testing the Medi-Cal expansion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -- the sweeping health insurance reform bill signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010.
The preview is called the Kern Medical Center Health Plan.
The program has taken people without insurance and assigned them primary doctors, care managers and medical services.
"It's that concept of getting people into primary care, preventative care, getting them quality care early instead of waiting until they are very sick and go into the emergency room, which can be very costly," said Jacey Hooper, program director for the Kern Medical Center Health Plan.
KMC says in the three years of the program, it has seen a 60 percent reduction in ER visits and patient stays at the hospital.
It's a program that not only helps people now, but will help even more when January 2014 comes around.
"Of those individuals we've enrolled in our program, about 89 percent will be eligible for Medi-Cal expansion, and the others will be eligible for the California Health Benefit Exchange," said Hooper.
The Health Benefit Exchange will offer different health insurance packages varying in the level of services needed.
Hooper says KMC will be a one-stop shop.
"You can come and apply for our program, and they're going to be able to say, 'Based on your information, you're eligible for either this program or this program,'" said Hooper.
For more information on KMC's health plan, you can call 661-326-2392
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