Local help available for new healthcare laws - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Local help available for new healthcare laws

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Toledo, OH -

Since its October launch, healthcare.gov, has been plagued with technical problems.  But the Obama Administration says most of the problems are fixed and the site is now prepared to handle a majority of users looking to shop for coverage.

But what happens if you're not web savvy or don't have access?  The 13abc I-Team has learned there is a new push to work with local people who can guide you through the application process. 

While the kinks are being worked out, deadlines are coming fast.  That's why there are people who can help and they are right here in our backyard.     

There is at least some concern with the technical issues at healthcare.gov, that people will simply dismiss the offer of the Affordable Care Act.

"I just hope people don't just cross it off their list, this is viable option and patience is critical," said Jan Ruma, with Toledo-Lucas County Carenet. 

That's why navigators and certified application counselors are popping through the area in part because the county you live in can determine what plans you can choose from the exchange.

"It's improving. We've seen a big improvement from where we started on October 1st to now," said Tammie Bell with the Family Medical Center of Michigan. 

At the Lambertville facility, staff members help with the application but the final decision on what plan you need and can afford are up to you.

"We can help people figure it out, but they have to come to their own decision.  We cannot steer them to a plan or what we think works better for them," said Ball. 

In Lucas County, leaders kick off "Get Covered Northwest Ohio" this week.  As they look through plans, people need to consider what coverage they need and what they can afford.  That's something people need to consider now, because the first premium payment is due December 23rd, if people want coverage January 1st.  The open enrollment period ends at the end of March.  

"I think the biggest concern right now is just the unknown that this is a brand new program.  Usually people in health care, people in the government know how things are going to work out and it's just a matter of sharing that with the people who are going to use the system and this is all new to everyone," said Ruma.

The big event for personalized help is Wednesday at the United Way in downtown Toledo.  People need to call 2-1-1 with the United Way to schedule an appointment for that Wednesday event. 

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