Politics

Health Care Consumers Receive Smartphones Under Obamacare

| by Khier Casino

Obamacare phones are now being offered to residents of Tennessee who are buying health care insurance co-op (Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan), which is funded by the federal government.

“We are providing high-touch service, using high-tech tools,” says Jerry Burgess, president and chief executive officer of Community Health Alliance (CHA), in a press release.

CHA, a non-profit organization, was brought to pass along with the Affordable Care Act back in May. The co-op came into existence to increase competition with other providers and help consumers buy healthcare within their means.

Health insurance buyers will receive an LG Lucid 2 4G Smartphone fully equipped with a data plan and tech support. Unlimited talk and texting, as well as 1.2GB of data are included in the phone plan. In order to be eligible, people must sign up with the co-op through the new Tennessee Health Insurance Marketplace.

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Before program members can receive the phone, it is mandatory for them go to a physician of their choice and sign a pledge to live a healthier lifestyle. When they are approved, members will get the phone in two weeks’ time. The phones will be pre-loaded with numbers of general practitioners that members have chosen.

“Members will have the phone number for their CHA representative pre-loaded in their phones and can quickly get answers to questions about their policies,” said CHA Chief Operating Officer Judy Slagle in a news release. “At the same time, we will be able to connect with our members by phone, by email or by text almost instantly with health tips and reminders.”

In addition to making sure providers and patients stay connected, it will help keep track of the number of CHA members. Many of them are new to the health insurance market.

Other insurers challenging the co-op include Cigna, Humana and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.