The Affordable Care Act: An Enrollment Story

November 5, 2013

The scene seems to play on repeat: Every morning, people open the newspaper and read disparaging articles about the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. Maybe it’s not a newspaper—maybe it’s a website or a news broadcast or a radio station. It doesn’t matter, the story is the same.

Glitches and bumps and technical issues have indeed left their mark on the federal marketplace this first month of open enrollment, but only one side of this story is being told.

Here’s the other half:

I’m the program manager for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago’s In-Person Counselor (IPC) Program. Our 13 certified IPCs had a robust schedule of education and enrollment activities since October 1—despite technical glitches.

On any given day, our IPCs provided enrollment services in the Chicago Department of Public Health’s HIV clinics, traveled with the Night Ministry bus to educate community members at local health fairs, and presented at town-hall meetings with elected officials. At all of these locations, Chicagoans have come out in droves, curious about health care reform and excited to learn how it will affect them.

Since October 1, we’ve educated or enrolled over 1,000 Chicago residents who have sought assistance or requested information about the ACA. Our IPCs are dynamic and have participated in approximately 20 special enrollment and education events throughout the city and have had over 90 one-on-one meetings with community leaders and elected officials.

And then there’s the new Medicaid program, which Illinois expanded this year to cover more individuals. Our IPCs have been enrolling people in this program on a nearly daily basis. This gives citizens between the ages of 19 and 64 who earn less than about $16,000 per year access to high-quality health insurance.

These accomplishments, though not highlighted in any news outlet, demonstrate the incredible potential of the ACA. Health care reform can educate consumers about coverage options and increase access for marginalized and uninsured individuals.

Continue reading the news because it’s good to stay abreast of the latest swings of the health insurance marketplace, but also keep an eye on the good work IPCs are doing to implement the ACA. We are enjoying tremendous success and look forward to building on these accomplishments in the coming months. Despite a few bumps in the road, the roll out of Obamacare boasts many incredible achievements, and that’s a story worth telling.

If you, or someone you know, would like more information about the ACA education or enrollment services AFC can provide, please contact Molly McAndrew at 312-334-0915, or call our informational hotline at 312-784-9060.

Categorized under Inside Story.

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