By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — City officials are trying to make it easier for uninsured Philadelphians to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, joining with a nonprofit group to help in the process.

Today, city officials looked prescient in announcing the partnership with the nonpartisan “Enroll America” six weeks after the disastrous roll out of the web site (see related stories).

Now that many of the bugs in the process have been worked out, Philadelphia health commissioner Don Schwartz says it’s safe to encourage enrollees to sign up.

“All Philadelphians who are eligible for new insurance options should be able to exercise those options and have insurance come January the first,” he said today.

Schwartz (at center in photo) estimates that 135,000 Philadelphians are in that pool.  He says they can get help from seven city agencies and from City Council, whose staff has been trained by Enroll America to answer questions and provide additional information.

Nevertheless, they are still counseling patience in navigating the web site.

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