CHICAGO – With the opening of the insurance marketplace set for October 1, Cook County Health & Hospitals System CEO, Ram Raju, MD, encouraged low-income Cook County adults to visit or call 1-312-864-8200 to see if they are eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

“We have had a head start on health care reform in Cook County. For the past nine months, CountyCare has allowed us to provide health care to those who will be newly eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The beauty of CountyCare is that members don’t have to wait until next year to get covered,” said Raju.

CountyCare, an early rollout demonstration project of the 2014 Affordable Care Act approved by the federal government, provides members with comprehensive, high-quality health care close to home. With more than 130 primary access points throughout Cook County, including all Cook County Health and Hospitals facilities, dozens of participating Federally Qualified Health Centers, and private hospitals and academic medical centers, members are able to access services at a location of their choice.

“The health system’s goal is to ensure that everyone who needs primary care can get it – regardless of their income or employment status,” said Dr. Raju. “Not only does CountyCare offer increased access to high-quality health care services; it also offers it at no cost to members. We are enrolling new patients in the program every day and continue to make it easier for people to access the vast network of great health professionals throughout Cook County.”

To join CountyCare, one needs to:

  • Live in Cook County.
  • Be 19-64 years of age.
  • Be a legal immigrant for at least 5 years or be a US citizen.
  • Meet income limits. (Limits are $15,282 of income per year for an individual or $20,628 for a couple).
  • Have a Social Security Number or have applied for one.

Officials are pleased with the more than 100,000 applications that have been started but encourage Cook County residents to call CountyCare first to see if they are eligible before spending time on the insurance marketplace.

Current CountyCare members are reminded that they do not need to do anything to respond to the opening of the marketplace on October 1 or to the beginning of the Affordable Care Act on January 1. Their CountyCare coverage meets the individual mandate as required by the Affordable Care Act.