Since open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act began Oct. 1 Sonja Smith with AIDS Alabama has helped Alabamians when it comes to finding the right health insurance coverage.
As a navigator it is her job to walk people through the process. Even so, she said she was surprised by the recent enrollment numbers. Federal officials say that 106,000 people nationwide have enrolled through healthcare.gov.
"We definitely expected the number to be higher. I think that with the website issues that have come up I think that put a little kink in everything," said Smith.
Those issues have pushed Smith and other navigators to rely on paper applications.
"Since so much has gone toward the paper applications there's a backlog and the processing of those. So, what was initially one to two week turnaround has now become a four to six week turn around," she said.
As it stands the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says about 10,000 Alabamians have enrolled. Of those 10,000, 624 people have selected a plan.
"If you have any doubts or any questions about your plan, your current plan and the price that is going to rise to look on the market place and see what your options are," said Smith.
Unfortunately, one problem for many Americans is the inability to enroll because of system malfunctions.
However, navigators with AIDS Alabama will be setting up in different locations around the city to help people fill out paper applications.
Below is a list of locations and times.
Saturday, Nov. 16, 8:30am-11:30am at St. Catherine's Episcopal Church (4163 County
Road 39, Chelsea).
Saturday, Nov. 16, 8:30am-11:30am at St. Mary's Episcopal Church (1307 E 3 Notch St.,
Saturday, Nov. 16, 9am-4pm at Sylacauga Chamber of Commerce (17 W Fort Williams
Monday, Nov. 18, 6:30pm-8:30pm at New Hope Baptist Church (1740 Cleburn Ave. SW,
Wednesday, Nov. 20, 11am-2pm at Smithfield Community Center (421-8th Ave. North,
Wednesday, Nov. 20, 6pm-7pm at Holy Trinity World Outreach Ministries (101-16th
Ave. W, Birmingham).
Saturday, Nov. 23, 8:00am-4pm at Bessemer Civic Center (1130 9th Ave. SW, Bessemer).
Thursday, Dec. 5, 6pm-8pm at Montevallo Library
Saturdays, Dec. 7 & 14, 8:30am-11:30am at Trinity Episcopal Church (503-2nd Ave.
For more information call AIDS Alabama at 205-918-8192.
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