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Sneed: Cook County jail inmates sign on to Obamacare

Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Chicago Sun-Times
by Michael Sneed

Jail power . . .

Sneed has learned 2,629 former Cook County Jail inmates who signed up for Obamacare — and filled out their applications while in jail — now have insurance cards!

? Translation: Prisons nationwide are becoming a major repository for Obamacare sign-ups because it allows states to extend coverage to a big part of the jail population: Single adults without kids.

? Upshot: “The hope is to reduce recidivism,” a Cook County Jail source said of the enrollment program, which is a joint effort between the jail and the Cook County Health System. “So many inmates are either mentally ill or substance abusers with no health insurance — and if they have health insurance when they leave the jail system, maybe they’ll not return because they’ve gotten the health care/treatment they needed.”

? Stat chat: Sneed hears as of March 6, 2014:

? Number of prisoners screened: 53,332

? Number of applications initiated: 13,728

? Number of applications submitted: 4,862



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