News19 Holding Affordable Care Act Phone Bank

5:16 PM, Sep 27, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act begins Tuesday.

Anyone can enroll, but uninsured individuals are required to sign up. We are providing a place just for you to get answers ahead of that enrollment date.

News19 will be holding a phone bank Monday, running from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. to answer your questions and help you find your way.

We'll be joined by "navigators," specially trained people who can answer your questions.

"There are 10 essential health benefits that have to be covered in a policy," said Linda Dowson, a Navigator recruited through Cooperative Ministries on Columbia.

Dowson will be answering calls that day along with a number of other navigators.

"Some people are concerned about having to pay a fee if they're not insured," Dowson said. "There are exemptions. So we can kind of go through and guide them."

Dowson underwent 30 hours of training just to be able to answer questions about the law.

"There are so many questions and concerns," said Dowson. "We want to be their first voice regarding these questions that they have."

A question posted on the WLTX Facebook page asked "if I work for a company with over 50 people, do they have to provide me with insurance, because I'm hearing that they an pay a penalty and I'm on my own to find insurance?"

Dowson said that yes, "if they don't provide you with insurance, they will be required to pay a penalty."

"I'm thinking of it as like Y2K," Dowson said. "Everybody was abuzz and worried, just the fear of the unknown. We want to be the first person you talk to that can ease your fears."


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