Racine Community Health Center

Dentist Mikaela Popa checks Savannah Bernal's teeth August 16, 2014, during the Racine Community Health Center’s Back to School and Community Health Fair at the center at 2405 Northwestern Ave. The center has since closed.

GREGORY SHAVER, Journal Times file photo

RACINE COUNTY — Residents could soon get another option for paying for dental work and some health services.

The county is considering joining a National Association of Counties-sponsored plan that would give Racine County residents, if they choose to sign up, discounts on dental and health programs.

Under the plan, residents pay a fee — the programs each come at a cost of $6.95 per month for individuals or $8.95 for families — to become eligible for discounts.

Savings on dental services range from 15 to 50 percent off a typical retail price of the procedure or work that is done, said Andrew Goldschmidt, NACo’s director of membership and marketing.

NACo’s health program, which generally covers vision and hearing services, includes an average of 35 percent savings on items like frames or hearing aids.

“It’s pretty significant,” Goldschmidt said.

The Racine County Board must first pass a resolution to formally bring the program to the county. A vote scheduled for Tuesday was postponed; it could come back to the board as early as next month.

The plan includes no cost to the county, officials said.

Center’s closure cited

The proposal is in front of the County Board about three months after the Racine Community Health Center, which provided dental and medical services to low-income residents, announced it would close.

With the area lacking other dental options for people with low incomes, officials began researching alternatives and believed this program could be a possible option for some, County Supervisor Bob Miller said.

Miller said he hopes the NACo plan is useful for residents who need dental services but have held back due to costs.

“It’s certainly a partial solution for those who don’t have any dental coverage or don’t have any access,” he said.

Lika Phipps, 46, said her family has struggled to receive dental care using the state-run BadgerCare health care program.

She said she would be interested in exploring whether the NACo program is viable for her and her family.

“I’m hoping to be able to participate in that just because it makes more sense to be able to have access,” said Phipps, 46, of Racine.

NACo already offers Racine County residents a free prescription drug discount program.

That program, which the county began offering in 2008, has saved Racine County residents about $1.25 million, Goldschmidt said.


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