Winter Storms Hinder Health Law Enrollment Efforts
|By Tara Kulash, St. Louis Post-Dispatch|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Some locations that help consumers with the enrollment process have been forced to cancel events and office hours because of winter storms.
Under the Affordable Care Act, to avoid a tax penalty for not having health insurance, consumers must enroll by
"It's a bit of a weather roulette," he said.
At People's Health Centers, marketing director
Grace Hill Health Centers has seen another kind of outreach effort affected.
Once a week, application counselors visit nearly 30 homes and businesses to offer information about the Affordable Care Act, said
At least two or three of those days have been canceled to keep counselors out of the extreme cold, she said. This week's visits were called off, too.
"When I was a little younger, I was a little more daring," she said. "Now I don't know at my age if there's anything worth having a car accident."
Primaris, a navigator group, closed its office in
But that didn't stop
"I trudged out with my laptop and enrolled five people," he said.
And Milarsky has yet to cancel an event, even when a low turnout is expected.
"If we put ourselves on the hook for an enrollment event, we make every effort to do it."
Navigator group Bi-Lingual International Assistant Services has not called off any events either.
While the winter has hindered some outreach efforts, navigators and counselors said they don't think the overall impact will be significant.
Many people complete the online application on their own and simply call navigators and counselors with a few questions.
But for people who aren't tech savvy, canceled events and closed offices could be problematic.
Still, there might be a few warm days before the
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