Nacogdoches financial counselors ready to help patients navigate - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Nacogdoches financial counselors ready to help patients navigate the Affordable Care Act

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

Some people still may not have easy access to healthcare.gov to learn what they need to know about the Affordable Care Act.

Fortunately, there are more local financial counselors ready right now to help you understand ACA. Most of them are new on the job, but are more than capable of tackling the task at hand. 

Nacogdoches Medical Center's Perry Upshaw is ready to get started signing up the uninsured with affordable healthcare coverage.

"So we will see how long that will take us," said Upshaw, a certified healthcare application counselor.

Access to healthcare.gov won't happen today. Perry isn't discouraged and she says you shouldn't be either.

"And this is one of the sites that we're reviewing information, navigating the marketplace," Perry said.

A path to health is Nacogdoches Medical Center's own ACA Outreach Initiative.

"There's a website and a toll free number associated with it that will match patients up with insurance options," Scott Sundell, the director of business development for Nacogdoches Medical Center.

Perry's job is to help you navigate the exchanges. She studied long and hard to help people make sense of it all.

"It was a long study period," Perry said. We had to review the information then take the test and pass the exams in order to move forward."

Across town, the East Texas Community Health Center had to first secure funding for two outreach enrollment assistance workers.

"Part of ours was tied to getting a particular grant, not knowing if we were going to get it or not," said Robin Moore, the director of the East Texas Community Health Center.

Now workers are waiting for government authorization to take the tests.

[take sot] {kelly searles/outreach enrollment assistance worker for east texas community health center}

"While we're waiting to get certified a lot of what we're going to be doing is educating the businesses and the public at large about this is where you come," said Kelly Searles, an outreach enrollment assistance worker for East Texas Community Health Center. "Here we are."

Willie Watts will explain to applicants immediate tax credits offset the cost of plans. Still he knows some will fall through the gap.

"Problem was the state of Texas did not expand their Medicaid rolls and that's why we got that gap," said Watts, an outreach enrollment assistance worker for East Texas Community Center.

The counselors are confident they'll be helping many East Texans once the plan is in place.

"We're ready; we're ready to receive those people," Perry said.

An increasing number of health care providers and private insurers are setting up Affordable Care Act assistance.

The enrollment period goes through February.

Sign up by December 15 for coverage that starts January 1, 2014. Enrollment stays open until March 31.

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