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Patience Urged as Texans Deal with Healthcare Glitches

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October 28, 2013

AUSTIN, Texas - It has been a far from smooth roll-out for the country's new health care exchange, but fixes are under way, and those having troubles with enrollment have been told to keep trying. Trelisha Brown, managing attorney, Texas Legal Services Center, said despite the glitches, the marketplace will help many people access affordable health care.

"The goal is to get those folks who are either uninsured or under-insured actual benefits that at one point in time that they did not have. So, I would suggest that people just be mindful of the significance of this particular program," Brown said.

For those who need help in enrolling, Brown said efforts are under way statewide, such as their Health Law Program, to answer questions with the help of navigators.

"The navigators are the folks who are 'boots on the ground,' who are in the neighborhoods and in their community to actually help people to enroll," Brown explained.

With more people having coverage, Brown said, public health overall will improve as more take advantage of preventive services, as well.

"The hope is that when you have insurance available, and it gives you the ability to go in and to see your doctor, that folks will use that benefit," Brown added, "and then you will see the well-being of Texans improve."

For those wanting coverage as of January, the enrollment deadline is Dec. 15. The deadline to have insurance and avoid penalties under the individual mandate is March 31. About 6 million people in Texas have no health insurance, the highest number of any state in the nation.

Information on enrollment is available by calling 800-318-2596 or visiting http://1.usa.gov. More information about the Health Law Project is at www.tlsc.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - TX