POSTED: Thursday, October 3, 2013 - 10:09am
UPDATED: Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - 7:38am
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS (KVEO NEWSCENTER 23) — In the lower Valley, they're assisting from behind the desk these first few weeks, but will eventually hit the streets to help residents enroll in the Affordable Care Act coverage. Na'tassia Finley continues our team coverage as people are seeking help at the Brownsville Community Health Center.
Noe Flores is one of three outreach and enrollment representatives who's been hired at the New Horizon, or Brownsville Community Health Center, to assist people in signing up for federal health care coverage with their jobs made possible through a federal grant.
BCHC Executive Director Paula Gomez stated, "We are learning as we go. We don't have all the answers, it seems the federal government doesn't have all the answers and of course it's complicated because we're in Texas."
Glitches and an overloaded system for online enrollment were just a few of the problems on day one of the Affordable Care Act registration.
Noe Flores, "We were just filling out paper applications due to the fact that the system was down, so many people trying to use it at the same time." Which didn't actually pose a big problem, the vast majority of the enrollees chose the paper route as many don't have access to a computer or an email account.
About fifty people were enrolled on the first day with the help of these reps, some apprehensive about what's to come as Noe Flores stated, "Things I saw people were confused about or worried about more than anything, were the prices they would have to pay as soon as they register with one of the insurance plans. Right now most of them are not covered, it's not something they were looking forward to, but know they know that if they don't you know apply, if they don't get one of the coverages eventually they will be paying a fine when they report for income tax."
Officials at BCHC say realistically there will be a number of people from the Valley that fall well into the poverty level that will simply not be able to afford this mandated insurance coverage.
They remind residents that the BCHC will still see patients even if they have no insurance coverage at all.