Locals take advantage of ‘Obamacare’ help

Published 12:53 am Thursday, February 20, 2014

By the time lunch arrived Wednesday, more than 40 people had already taken advantage of a health fair offered at Andalusia Regional Hospital.

Wednesday’s fair brought members of MedAssist to ARH to offer help in complying with the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.

Workers were on hand with laptops and paperwork, helping anyone who stopped by understand how the ACA, commonly referred to as “Obamacare,” affected them.

“We screen for programs to see what help people are eligible for,” MedAssist’s Kathryn Hollinghead told The Star-News prior to the event. “And we also contracted to follow-up for the Affordable Care Act.”

The ACA mandates that people buy health insurance or pay a penalty.

“I’m finding that either they do not have access to a computer, don’t know how to use one, or can’t navigate through the web site,” she said. “These are the obstacles we run up against trying to get people to sign up.”

Hollinghead said Wednesday that even MedAssist workers were having problems with the site, which has garnered national attention for its shortcomings since its inception last year.

Regardless of the hiccups, she said Wednesday’s event was a big help for a lot of people unsure of how to prepare for the changes brought on by the ACA.

Information on the Affordable Care Act is available at healthcare.gov.