Low-Cost Health Clinics See Increase in Calls as ACA Repeal Looms

With President Donald Trump eager to repeal the Affordable Care Act, some low-cost health clinics said they’ve been seeing an increase in the number of calls from people who are worried they may lose health coverage.

While anyone currently insured under the Affordable Care Act is guaranteed coverage through 2017, concerns over what’s next has one East Hartford clinic busier than ever.

First Choice Health Centers provides both primary and specialty care services from behavioral health to OBGYN services, but Dr. Tess Kryspin Lombard, chief medical officer at First Choice, said as the Trump Administration talks about repealing the Affordable Care Act, the clinic is receiving a number of worried callers.

“People are definitely worried people that were able to qualify for insurance previously are now concerned that they’re not going to be able to,” said Lombard.

Some of those people are exploring low-cost clinics, like First Choice Health Centers.

“We do have the benefit that for people without insurance to be able to get covered still. We take care of patients regardless of their ability to pay through our sliding fee scale,” said Lombard.

Depending on that person’s income level and the number of people in their household – they can receive discounted rates.

Of course it's all contingent on the service they’d receive, but they can pay as low as $20 in co-pays.

It’s an option Tracey Poulin, who has health insurance through the ACA, said she may have to explore.

“If I needed to be seen by a physician I would if I did not have Obamacare because obviously the ER would be more expensive,” said Poulin.

She just started a new job. And says she likely wouldn’t be able to afford health insurance provided by her company.

“I’ll probably be in big trouble,” said Poulin.

The ultimate message from First Choice Health Centers CMO is that they're ready to help.

“It really is a matter of saying to patients and saying to everyone it’s going to be OK. We will work with you no matter what happens,” said Lombard.

The number or patients the clinic has been getting has also increased.

Lombard said each year over the last 4 years the number of patients at First Choice has grown by 12 percent and now they serve more than 20 thousand patients.

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