Bay area groups help people sign up for health care - WFLA News Channel 8

Bay area groups help people sign up for health care

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Retired Macy's furniture salesman Bruce Jefferson needs a health plan.

He says he tried to sign up for the Affordable Healthcare Act, aka “Obamacare”, at home, to no avail.

Wednesday night, Jefferson and others went to the Hunt Center at Al Lopez park in Tampa for health care help.

“The hardest part is the computer is very slow and it asked the same question over and over again. And each time you answer a question, it's gotta scroll back to the top of the page,” said Jefferson.

The so-called "super enrollment" event at Al Lopez Park and others like it are designed to help with the various plans and prices available on the Health Care Marketplace web site.

“Here we have in-person assistants, navigators, to help them walk through that application and answer their questions in a setting that's already familiar to them,” said Mayra Alvarez of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The clock is ticking. With a revised goal of 6 million enrollees by March 31st, the Health and Human Services Secretary is taking heat from lawmakers.

“Success looks like millions of people with affordable health coverage which we will have by the end of March in the private marketplace, in Medicaid, in young adults on the family plan,” said Kathleen Sebelius.

Fail to get a health plan, and fines kick in. They start at $95 a year, or 1% of your income, whichever is more, starting in this tax year.

Two and a half hours later, Bruce Jefferson got a subsidized health care plan, but he’s not too sure about the whole process.

“It's not economically viable. It's gonna have to collapse. It's a pyramid. I mean, if I'm getting something I'm not paying for, who's gonna pay for it?” he asked.

The health care navigators at Al Lopez Park blamed heavy evening internet traffic for slowing down the website.

Bruce Jefferson said when he tried at home, he ran into the same trouble.

For now, Florida is on track to make white house projections for enrollment.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.


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