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Champaign Co Expected to Have Highest Number of Affordable Care Act Enrollees

CHAMPAIGN-- According to reports from Illinois health care experts, Champaign County will have the highest percentage increase of Medicaid recipients in the state once the affordable care act is implemented in January. Local officials say the unique blend of students, immigrants, and artists will all contribute to the rise.

Jen Tayabji, of the Champaign County Health Care Consumers group, says, "It's going to be a huge impact for individuals in our community, we're going to see an over-60% increase in those who can get medicaid. So people will now have access to insurance they couldn't get before."

Tayabji says local hospitals will benefit as well, as many people who now receive emergency care for free will soon be able to pay for it. "I think it will help the hospitals, they'll now have people who have insurance coverage that could not otherwise pay for their bills before. There will definitely be an increase in trying to get into the doctor, maybe some waits, but I think it's important for our community increases the capacity to take in new patients, we will really see an improvement in the health."

And she also expects the impact to trickle down to employers, saying employees who can afford health care will make for a healthier workplace. "Their workers will stay healthier. People won't be waiting just for that emergency to get care, they can now get preventative care. When they start feeling like they're getting sick or something's off, they won't wait until it's an emergency."

Adam Rife reporting