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Health Exchanges Triggering Some Fears

Open enrollment for the new online health insurance exchanges begins in 90 days, so the federal government launched the website to teach people how to shop for online health insurance. But community health organizations say there's a lot of fear surrounding the exchanges

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[Teresa Zayas of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services demonstrates the website]

Peter Willems said when the online health insurance exchanges open, he plans to sign up. “I’ve been uninsured for several years now and it’s an opportunity to get insurance,” he said.

Willems is one of nearly 60 people who turned out for a primer on which is designed to serve as a guide to the health insurance marketplace that opens October 1st. Hispanic Health Initiatives was also there, one of many community health organizations working to raise awareness about the online exchanges. Executive Director Josephine Mercado said many in the Latino community don't even know the exchanges are coming, and many of those who do are afraid of them.

“So far there’s a lot of insecurity as to whether or not the law is going to help them or hurt them, and if so, in which way,” she said.

Mercado said a lot of Latinos work two and three jobs just to make ends meet- so they’re worried about the cost of health insurance and whether they’ll be hit with penalties for not signing up. Hispanic Health Initiatives applied for a Navigator grant so that it can work directly with the community to help them understand the costs, subsidies, potential penalties and the importance of health insurance .


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