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Open Enrollment Began On Tuesday

Open Enrollment Began On Tuesday

Tuesday was the start of open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act. The Door to HealthCare reports that it received 105 calls into its call center, and more than 30 people showed up at a number of locations around the region to sign up, or learn more about health insurance plans.

"The Maryland Health Connection system was down for much of the day, but that didn't stop us from at least starting the enrollment for the people who were here, and were able to take information on a paper application," says Christine Hall, the Executive Director of Healthy Howard, Inc., which runs the Door to HealthCare.

The Door to HealthCare is a connector which helps people in Frederick, Carroll, Howard, Washington, Allegheny and Garrett Counties who lack health insurance to sign up as required by the Affordable Care Act.  The deadline is March 31st, 2014.

The goal of the Law, passed by Congress in 2010, is to provide health insurance coverage to citizens who don't  have it. The health care exchanges were set up to help people to choose from several plans for themselves or their families. The law requires all Americans to have health insurance coverage. If you already receive health coverage from your employer, you are already in compliance with the law.

The Door to HealthCare also has about 40 locations where people can drop by and enroll. They are not listed on the organization's website, but Hall hopes that will be corrected in the future, and as more locations come on board.

On the first day, Hall says some people enrolled, but a number weren't ready to make a decision just yet. "Many of the people who actually did come in in person decided that they would take some of the information that we did provide to them, whether it was brochures, or whatever it was, take it home and think about it. And then they actually scheduled appointments to come back and start the enrollment process," she said.

Many people who were visiting the health exchanges may not be used to making choices when it comes to health care. But Hall says the staff at the Door to HealthCare is ready to help out. "Tax subsidies that they may be eligible for," she says. "Just to be there for that personal support in helping and choosing an affordable health care plan."

The coming of the health exchanges has been in the news recently, but Hall says the Door to HealthCare will be out and about, talking about how to enroll into a health care plan. "We will be out at community events, at churches, at libraries, so that we are able to go where the people are," she says.

But, all in all, Hall says it was a successful first day. "We're very excited to be working with our partners and to get as many people enrolled as possible," she says.

To sign up, you can go on line to www.MarylandHealthConnection.gov, or call Door to HealthCare at 1-855-288-DOOR {3667}. The Door to HealthCare expects 180,000 people to be enrolled during the first year.

 

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