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Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Shaky Web Site Frustrates Insurance Helpers

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Across the city, Francisco Juarez was waiting for help at the Multi-Service Center in Denver Harbor. Jaurez, 55, works for a small metal fabrication company. “They’ve been promising us insurance and to this day we still don’t have any,” he said.

Juarez has heart trouble and diabetes. But he hasn’t seen a cardiologist in nine months, and he can’t afford his prescriptions. “My heart,” he said softly. “My heart’s only 25 percent, and I’ve got three clogged arteries. So it’s pretty serious. I need to get some insurance somewhere.”

Juarez clutched a folded paper with his account information from healthcare.gov.  He had left work early, without telling anyone where he was going, hoping to see a navigator who could help him choose a plan before the deadline.

– Carrie Feibel, KUHF

BILINGUAL HELP IN PHILADELPHIA: By midafternoon Monday, at Latino service agency Congreso in North Philadelphia, about 50 people were signed in, the list growing, waiting to meet with Congreso’s bilingual staff.

“Actually, what you see here right now is half of what was here earlier this morning,” said Jose Rivera, Congreso’s vice president of health services.

Rivera says he’s excited they’ve been able to connect with so many people, even as Latino enrollment nationwide appears to be low. Twenty employees have become certified application counselors at Congreso, according to Rivera, in addition to their regular jobs. Counselors reported long waits getting through to the Spanish-speaking help line on Monday.

Elvia Mejia,64, is holding out hope that she’ll be able to sign up. She’s uninsured, diabetic, and has struggled to pay for medicine costing upwards of $500 a month on her own. Mejia joined family living in the United States three years ago, and while she may not be eligible for other federal health programs until she has been in the country for five years, the Affordable Care Act has no time requirement for immigrants in the country legally to be eligible for financial assistance purchasing coverage through the marketplace, if their income qualifies.

Tue, Apr 1 2014

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