CHAPEL HILL – As the Obama administration is scrambling to fix major malfunctions in the online health care market place, efforts are being made here in Chapel Hill to help people sign up and avoid the confusion.
Sherry Hay, Director of Community Health Initiatives at UNC Family Medicine, has been helping to lead community events, such as phone banks and informational forums, to educate people about the Affordable Care Act.
Since its launch on Oct. 1, the HealthCare.Gov site, the online market place through which consumers can enroll in health care, has been plagued with problems.
President Barack Obama publicly acknowledged on Monday that the new health care law’s website hasn’t been functioning as it should, but he insisted that Americans should still register for Obamacare, despite the technical problems.
Hay said she alarmed about the misinformation circulating in the media.
“One of the most concerning things is [the notion] that there will be someone in Washington making a decision about their health care, in lieu of that decision being made with their primary care provider,” Hay said. “That is absolutely not correct information.”
At UNC Family Medicine, Hay said she and her team have been helping their patients enroll through the market place.
“So yes, it is frustrating. I understand that, but it is coverage that provides you access. Hopefully in the long term, you’ll see a quality increase and also see our costs go down.”
Hay said the Affordable Care Act is more than just the market place and that the program has many benefits.
“One is making prevention a reimbursable service for Medicare recipients. Prevention, particularly for our older population, for all of us is important. Those many things that the act covers are critical to our long-term health.”
In addition to the government website, applicants can enroll by phone or by mail.
People can call 1-800-318-2596, a line which is open 24/7. A representative will be available to walk consumers through the enrollment process.
Hay explained a new tool has been created on the website to outline which plans are available by state.
Obama pledged Monday to recruit the “best and the brightest” to rectify HealthCare.gov’s technical problems.
“Yes, there have been some problems, but the extent of the law is well worth sometimes what changes bring—which are a few bumps in the road.”
Local Health Care Exchanges Informational Events:
– The League of Women Voters is holding a community event Saturday at 10:00 a.m. in the Hillsborough Public Library.
– Get Covered America is holding an events nationwide as part of “Treat Yourself To Coverage.” Information sessions will be happening in the Triangle and across the state.