Health Howard says abouit 300 people have enrolled since Oct. 1st.
The computer glitches plaguing the health exchanges across the country haven't slowed down efforts to enroll citizens in health care plans in Western Maryland. That's according to Christine Hall, the Executive Director of Healthy Howard, which is running a program called "Door To Health Care" that's trying to get residents in Frederick, Carroll, Howard, Washington, Allgehany and Garrett Counties to sign up for health insurance plans.
"We've seen a lot of interest. People are coming to our locations, and asking questions about what health insurance options are available to them. We're also scheduling appointments for people to come back and fill out paper applications," says Hall.
She says so far, about 300 people have enrolled in health plans since the exchange began operations on October 1st. "I think it's a fair number. That's over the past three weeks, or not even three weeks since October 1st," Hall says. "I feel that number is going to grow throughout the region."
Under the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, citizens have until March 31st, 2014 to register. If you already have a health care plan through your employer, you're already in compliance with the law.
The health exchanges have been plagued with computer glitches since they went into operation earlier this month. President Obama spoke about that on Monday. He said nobody is more frustrated with the glitches that he. But he's confident the problem will be fixed. The President said there are other ways to sign up for health care insurance than a computer.
Hall says residents can also enroll by filling out a paper form.
The Affordable Care Act has been controversial since it was enacted in 2010, and the exchanges have added further fuel to the fire. But during trips across Western Maryland to talk about the law, Hall says "Door To Health Care" representatives haven't encountered much hostility. "In terms of bringing the politics into it, we honestly haven't see much of that," she says.
Hall says most participants have been asking a lot of questions. "We've seen a lot of interest in people wanting to find out what benefits are available to them through Maryland Health Connection, and what the cost for some of these plans would be," she says. In addition, Hall says, they want to know if their physicians or specialists are covered under the many plans available.
There are "Door To Health Care" representatives on hand to help answer questions, and work with citizens to help them decide which is best for them based on cost and family size, she says.
For more information on how to enroll through the "Door To Health Care," go on line to www.doortohealthcare.org, or call 1-855-288-3667.