#Thinkwing Radio: Weds, FEB. 11, 2015, 10PM, @KPFT-FM 90.1 (Houston). TOPIC(s): Call-in Q&A on ACA/Obamacare! Deadline is 2/15 for insurance coverage in 2015 . GUEST: Michael F. Coulter (LMSW-IPR, MACSS) Outreach Health Insurance Specialist [AUDIO]


Link is usually posted within about 72 hours of show broadcast.

Welcome to Thinkwing Radio with Mike Honig (@ThinkwingRadio), a listener call-in show (every Wednesday night from 10-11PM CT) on KPFT-FM 90.1 (Houston). My engineer and discussion partner is Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies). Listen live on the radio or on the internet from anywhere in the world! When the show is live, we take calls at 713-526-5738. (Long distance charges may apply.)  For the purposes of this show, I operate on two mottoes:

  • You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts;
  • An educated electorate is a prerequisite for a democracy.


  • Affordable Care Act and the Marketplace Health Insurance Options: Sign up before the final 2015 deadline on February 15th in order to get coverage beginning March 1st, 2015.

GUESTS: (More complete biographical info on my guests are below Source links.)

  • Michael F. Coulter, LMSW-IPR, MACSS | Outreach Health Insurance Specialist, Medicare Advantage and Health Plans Branch | Division of Medicare Health Plan Operations | Dallas Regional Office, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

NOTE: This post is subject to update before and after the show. ______________________________________________________________________
Some of the links used for this show are BELOW the break: SOURCES (Below the break) Not all topics discussed on tonight’s show:


MSC and Health Center Locations and Hours
Facility Regular Hours Extra Resource Hours* in 2014-2015
Sunnyside MSC & Health Ctr

9314 Cullen Street

Houston, TX 77051



Monday-Friday 8-7pm

2/14/2015   Sunday 2/15/2015


Third Ward MSC

3611 Ennis Street

Houston, TX 77004


Monday-Friday 8-5pm

Magnolia MSC & Health Center

7037 Capitol Street

Houston, TX 77011


Monday-Friday 8-7pm

2/14/2015   Sunday 2/15/2015


Denver Harbor MSC

6402 Market Street

Houston, TX 77020


Monday-Friday 8-7pm

2/14/2015   Sunday 2/15/2015


Acres Homes

6719 W. Montgomery

Houston, TX 77091


Monday-Friday 8-7pm

2/14/2015   Sunday 2/15/2015


Fifth Ward MSC

4014 Market Street

Houston, TX 77020


Monday-Friday 8-5pm

Northeast MSC

9720 Spaulding

Houston, TX 77016


Monday-Friday 8-7pm

2/14/2015   Sunday 2/15/2015


Kashmere MSC

4802 Lockwood

Houston, TX 77026


Monday-Friday 8-5pm

Northside Health Center

8504 Schuller

Houston, TX 77093


Monday-Friday 8-5pm

Hiram Clarke MSC

3810 West Fuqua

Houston, TX 77045


Monday-Friday 8-5pm

Southwest MSC

6400 High Star

Houston, TX 77074


Monday-Friday 8-7pm

2/14/2015   Sunday 2/15/2015


West End MSC

170 Heights Blvd

Houston, TX 77007


Monday-Friday 8-5pm

Sharpstown Health Center

6201 Bonhomme,

South Tower, 3rd floor

Houston, TX 77036


Monday-Friday 7:30-4:30pm

La Nueva Casa de Amigos

1809 North Main

Houston, TX 77009


Monday 9-6pm

Tuesday-Friday 8-5pm


Collaborative Partners Call In and Location


Gateway to Care



Change Happens



Light & Salt



  • Local enrollment events
  • Who qualifies for healthcare through the federal marketplaces?
  • State-based marketplaces vs. Federal-based marketplaces
    • Income gap.
  • Money freed up for other programs due to the advent of ACA.
  • What is involved in applying?
    • What information will applicants need to have handy?
    • Does setting up an account in the system obligate you to apply?
    • Can you explore the options without giving the site any personal information?
    • What are the income constraints for application, if any?
      • Where are the approximate income ranges where you can get some subsidy assistance?
      • One would expect that you can make too much for subsidy assistance, but can you make too little?
      • For someone who makes too little to get a subsidy, what other options might they have to obtain some kind of health coverage?
        • (Automatic Medicaid application, when applicable)
    • Goes into effect with FIRST PREMIUM PAYMENT!
      • Changes can be made in selection anytime thru the end of the Open Enrollment period.
    • Subsidy Assistance: “Advance Premium Tax Credit” vs. “Premium Tax Credit”
    • IRS penalty recourse comes ONLY out of tax refunds or “Earned Income Tax Credit”. NO GARNISHMENT!
  • Are there penalties for not having health insurance for 2015.
    • What are the penalties?
    • Are there exceptions that can enable people to avoid being penalized?
    • What are the options for someone who wants health insurance, makes too little to be subsidized or qualify for Texas Medicare, and can’t afford the premiums?
        • Will they be penalized?


    • How can penalties be waived?
    • Waiver application: Available in the application process
    • PENALTIES GO UP EACH YEAR, based on Bronze-level premium.
  • Special enrollment periods: “Life-changing Events”
  • Change or loss of jobs?
  • Change of income? Up OR down!
  • Marriage, divorce, childbirth, relocation, etc.
  • Is there any overlap between the Healthcare Marketplace policy, VA care. Medicare and Medicaid?
  • What are the differences between Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum plans?
    • Is it true that a ‘better’ plan can sometimes cost less after calculating subsidies?
    • Insurance Terminology: (“The Coverage to Care Booklet”)
      • What is the difference between a co-pay and a deductible?
      • What is the difference between an HMO and a PPO?
    • How do prescription co-pays and deductibles usually work?
    • How important is it to choose your plan based not only on co-pays and deductibles, but also based on anticipated medical costs and needs?
  • When evaluating a policy, what should you look at First? Second? Third?
  • Should a person in the marketplace be re-selecting among the plans every year, or just ‘ride’ with that they have?
  • Once you have a plan, who do you call for information about your coverage?
  • Aside from Harris County Health System are there equivalents in the surrounding counties or cities?


Michael F. Coulter, LMSW-IPR, MACSS. Outreach Health Insurance Specialist, Division of Medicare Health Plans Operations, Customer Service Branch, CMS Dallas Regional Office

Michael Coulter is The Region VI Team Lead for the Marketplace Cities of Houston and Corpus Christi for 2014.  Michael is also the Region VI Lead for the 2014 Medicare Open Enrollment Period. He is a member of the Dallas Regional Office for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services the Division of Plans Operations, the Customer Service Branch.

Michael  has been with the Department since 2009 and has served as an auditor for Part C&D Medicare Plans as well as PACE Plans in the Five State Region served by the Dallas Regional Office.  Michael joined the Outreach Team during the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan Campaign in 2012. He has been instrumental in reaching some of our non-traditional partners in the new and emerging Health Insurance Marketplace because of the unique background he brings to CMS.  Michael has been the Regional Lead for the Medicare Open Enrollment Period for the past two years.

Michael is a Veteran of the United States Air Force. He served in Operation Desert Storm and is a trained and licensed Social Worker with Independent Practice Recognition.  Michael has extensive experience in Community Mental Health Service Delivery thru the Mental Health Mental Retardation System in North Texas. Michael has vast experience that he has brought from positions he has held with the State of Texas at the Veterans Land Board and the US Department of Veterans Affairs before joining the US Department of Health and Human Services in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid – Dallas Regional Office.


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Since December 2013 on KPFT“ThinkwingRadio with Mike Honig” has brought you dozens of interesting guests and many uncommon or rarely heard topics of discussion. We have callers from across the political and ideological spectrum, and I endeavor to treat them all with respect and courtesy so we can generate a real flow of ideas. You can listen to almost any show I’ve ever done (going back to May 2010) by following the blog post announcements or going to the archive tab. (The Announcements tend to be more current.)

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Thanks, Mike Honig


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