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Clock Ticking for Open Enrollment in Commonwealth

PHOTO: Canvassers from Health Care For All, Chelsea Collaborative and other groups knocked on 360,000 doors around Massachusetts during the open-enrollment period, informing Commonwealth residents of their options. Photo courtesy of The Chelsea Collaborative.
PHOTO: Canvassers from Health Care For All, Chelsea Collaborative and other groups knocked on 360,000 doors around Massachusetts during the open-enrollment period, informing Commonwealth residents of their options. Photo courtesy of The Chelsea Collaborative.
February 4, 2015

CHELSEA, Mass. - A week from Sunday marks the deadline for enrolling or re-enrolling in health-insurance programs, and advocates of the Affordable Care Act coverage say they have done an impressive job of informing Commonwealth residents of their options.

The goal was to knock on the doors of 200,000 homes in Massachusetts, many of them in low-income areas. Amy Whicomb Slemmer, executive director of Health Care For All, said her group and about a dozen other community-based organizations pledged to the Health Connector that it would reach that goal, and they delivered - in a big way.

"We're delighted to announce that Health Care For All has actually knocked on 360,000 doors during this open-enrollment period," Whitcomb Slemmer said.

The deadline, Feb. 15, falls on a Sunday, so Whitcomb Slemmer said anyone wanting to speak to a health-care navigator or needing special assistance should keep in mind that the remaining weekdays would be the best time for that.

Some 106 canvassers, including folks from the Chelsea Collaborative. talked to Commonwealth residents at their doorsteps, said Gladys Vega, the collaborative's executive director.

"We have been promoting health care for all in the city of Chelsea and Revere," she said, "and we have knocked (at) over 12,000 doors to make sure that the residents take advantage of the health-care benefits."

As for the Affordable Care Act, informally known as Obamacare, Whitcomb Slemmer called it a successs.

"We believe strongly in its impact," she said. "We believe strongly in the success that it's had in the Commonwealth. We know it's not perfect, but we know that we have the highest coverage rate in the country."

Health Care For All has a helpline at 1-800-272-4232.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - MA