By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – An estimated 40 million Americans will be able to enroll for health insurance coverage beginning in just a few weeks as part of the Affordable Care Act. But many are still unaware of how to sign up and what it will cost. As 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan tells us, a push to get the word out has begun.
Beginning October 1st people will able to shop around for health insurance through sites set up by either the federal government or individual states. These sites, known as exchanges, will allow people who don’t have health insurance to find coverage that fits their budget and meets their needs. But you don’t have to wait until October to get started.
“We are all an accident, an illness or a diagnosis away from what could be a lifetime of unpayable bills or treatment that could save a life,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today as she joined Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter in a panel discussion at the Congreso center in North Philadelphia. Her goal? To get people ready for open-enrollment under the Affordable Care Act. She says, “Out reach into the community to talk about what is available and what is coming is hugely important.”
With an estimated 10 million Latino’s currrently without health insurance nationwide, Congreso will be among the community agencies in Philadelphia trying to get people to sign up for health insurance. Secretary Sebelius encouraging people to visit www.heathcare.gov, the website set up to answer questions related to the Affordable Care Act.
Even though open enrollment is weeks away, you can still set up an account on the site. Sebelius says, “The website is designed to be pretty consumer friendly and easy to access it even has the kind of chat feature that you have online and if you pause too long someone will pop up and ask you if you want to ask a question.”
In addition to visiting the www.healthcare.gov site, a 24-hour call center has been set up as well. Operators are available to speak with callers in 150 languages. The number is 1-800-318-2596.