Affordable Care Act
Questions, website issues keep navigator busy
by Bradley Hartsell
The opening month of enrollment for insurance offered under the federal Affordable Care Act has not been smooth, with website bugs plaguing the rollout.
Naturally, this has led to many more questions than answers for consumers, with Coweta County no exception. Nykita Scott, exchange navigator for Coweta County, said she’s been getting “tons and tons of calls” from people experiencing problems with the website. For some, she’s mailed out paper applications for people who’d rather do away with signing up online.
The UGA Cooperative Extension Service provided Scott to Coweta County to answer the myriad of questions they anticipated for the beginning of the ACA, according to Scott. Those questions, according to Scott, are oftentimes about the website.
Scott said the second most common questions are from people who aren’t sure how the ACA will affect them and if they should switch over their insurance. Many people want to know their options under the new regulations.
“A lot of people say, ‘I just need information on Obamacare. What is it?’” said Scott, who in addition to fielding a seemingly endless string of phone calls on a daily basis, does one-on-one consultations and gives public presentations to get as much information out as possible.
Scott said she provides general overviews of health insurance and the marketplace under the new ACA. Specifically, Scott is providing education and awareness for what options are available among the plans offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana, Alliance, Kaiser and Peach State and explaining, in easy-to-understand terms, what the ACA means for the marketplace and what coverage consumers might be looking for.
When the exchange service was bogged down with launch issues, Scott says her preparation or advisement did not change, in terms of how she handled consumers.
“We were trained and prepared to answer any questions, and to offer solutions to people,” she said.
The questions have been innumerable but despite the unforeseen problems with the exchange website, Scott did not personally feel overwhelmed by the volume of consumers with questions. She was ready for it.
“It was on par with my expectations. With any new law there’s gonna be a lot of questions. That’s why the navigator program was put in place, to answer those questions,” Scott said.
Scott’s Extension Service program runs for one full year and will specifically deal with the ACA. Her office is at the Coweta County Extension Office, 255 Pine Rd. south of Newnan and she can be reach at the Extension Service number, 770-254-2620.