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Wed November 6, 2013

Health Care Insurance Help Available With Pen And Paper

Problems with the website set up for the Affordable Care Act doesn’t mean people can’t sign up for health insurance. Applications can still be made on paper.

Health care insurance applications don't require computer access.

Having trouble with the federal government’s website to find affordable health insurance? There are people in Louisiana ready to help.

The federal government funded training programs for people to help others navigate the system. New Orleans Health Commissioner Karen DeSalvo says those “navigators” and other outreach workers are seeing results.

“Our team in the health department has reached more than 800 people already through various outreach events that we have been engaged in," she said.

She says information is still available through other insurance company websites, but you don’t have to file online.

“People can go to a local health center and there will be staff available to sit down and help people fill out the forms," DeSalvo said.

Brian Burton is the director of the Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center. He says help is available statewide.

And while the paper process can take a while to fill out, mail in for review and wait for options, that extra time could be a good thing.

“It’s not about making a quick decision for your family, it’s about making an informed decision," Burton said. So for a lot of people, that two-week time period is a good time for them to decide what’s best for their family, too — after having a lot more knowledge about what the Affordable Health Care Act is.”

The City of New Orleans operates about 20 primary care health centers throughout the city where help with the pen-and-paper process is available.

Officials want people to at least be in the application pipeline by the end of this year.

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