Healthcare rollout in Hidalgo County


POSTED: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 3:56pm

UPDATED: Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 7:08am

Rachel Vargas' job has picked up a bit since yesterday.  She is tasked with enrolling people into the health insurance exchange program; part of the Affordable Care Act. 

The only problem, the system is so inundated the website is jammed and nobody can sign up.  

"At this time, I've been using the calculator and I can approximately tell tem what's going on, explain to them the plans the marketplace has," Vargas said. 

She works for Nuestra Clinica Del Valle, a clinic with 11 locations throughout Hidalgo and Starr County.  Vargas has seen dozens of clients on the first two days of the health exchange program. All of them arrived with questions about how Obamacare can benefit them.  Tuesday's clients include Oralia Lozano and her husband.  

"We have Medicare plan A," said Lozano in Spanish. "We opted out of plan B so the lady can guide us what steps we should take." 

The great majority of clients at Nuestra are low-income earners.  The Lozanos found a plan that costs two percent of their take-home pay.

Many clients can see greater benefit from the healthcare law than before.  

"They didn't really have many options before," said Christian Munoz, an outreach director for Nuestra. "The residents of Starr and Hidalgo county were uninsured, and remain uninsured until yesterday.  We now have all these plans for them to select from."  


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