Community Hospital's dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony for its new addition

Community Hospital

John J. Watkins, The Times

The Region's largest hospital system has joined the network for the only Obamacare insurer for Lake and Porter counties.

Community Healthcare System announced it has signed a contract with Ambetter from Managed Health Services, the only plan available in the two counties on the Affordable Care Act marketplace at Healthcare.gov.

“We understand the value that consumers and purchasers are placing not just on the cost of care, but on quality as well,” stated Donald Fesko, president and chief executive officer of the Community Foundation of Northwest Indiana, the parent company of Community Healthcare System. 

With Lake and Porter counties down to one Obamacare insurer for 2018, Community Healthcare System patients would have had to go elsewhere for care had the agreement not happened. The health system includes Community Hospital in Munster, St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart, as well as 60 primary care physicians and specialists.

Fesko said the agreement "is a confirmation of our commitment to continue to provide access to high quality health care providers and exceptional care throughout the area.”

Kevin O’Toole, president and CEO of MHS, stated that the hospitals of Community Healthcare System “have a strong reputation for delivering outstanding patient care, and share MHS’ commitment to improving the health of the community, one person at a time. Now our Ambetter members in Northwest Indiana will have even more choices for quality, cost-efficient care.”

The marketplace allows Hoosiers who earn between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level and can't get coverage through an employer to buy government-subsidized insurance.

In 2017, enrollment figures for the marketplace were 12,106 in Lake County, 4,975 in Porter County and 3,008 in LaPorte County, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. LaPorte County has two Obamacare insurers: Ambetter from MHS and CareSource.

Enrollment for 2018 marketplace plans in Indiana ends Friday.

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Health reporter

Giles is the health reporter for The Times, covering the business of health care as well as consumer and public health. He previously wrote about health for the Lawrence (Kansas) Journal-World. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.