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Health care dilemmas confuse many

Harrington Hospital offers first of four information fairs

May 05, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — The health care crisis came to Harrington Tuesday, as the hospital hosted the first of four health fairs for uninsured people planned over the next few months.

"I'm very grateful they had this today. When you read up on all of this stuff, it's all confusing," said one Sturbridge woman, who identified herself only as Maureen. "I don't feel real good — I'm unemployed and don't want to ask for help for the first time in my life."

That reaction was quite common among the 50-plus people who attended seeking information on how to access the state's various insurance programs, event organizers Rebecca Hilbig and April Parzych said.

"They make it so difficult" for people to get into MassHealth and Commonwealth Care, Parzych said. Often, people applying are rejected repeatedly, or are required to resubmit various forms of documentation a few months after acceptance, or have to endure multiple appointments. In some cases, people have been approved, but don't know because the letters are so confusing, she said.

To Cindy, another Sturbridgian, the whole process is best described as infuriatingly unfair to responsible people.

"Once they see you have a dime to your name and college degree, they put you at the bottom of the list," she said. "Those that work their life away for umpteen years and go apply for help for the first time — denied. Something is better than nothing, but when you're getting nothing after contributing to the system for 25 years, it's wrong."

See Friday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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