By David Knopf/Richmond News
Entering the world of www.healthcare.gov can hardly be described as an easy voyage. But since a rocky launch, at least one certified application counselor for the Affordable Care Act says she’s seen progress.
Julie Bartley, program manager for the Health Care Collaborative of Rural Missouri, worked with one applicant Jan. 13 and said she had three more scheduled the next day.
“Since Dec. 5, I think I’ve had a problem with one person’s application, but that was a special situation,” said Bartley, whose office is in Lexington but also work with Ray County applicants. “The gentleman I was working with today, we just kept trucking on (through the online application). “With the marketplace Web site, I’m very happy with that.”
Bartley’s job is to sit side-by-side with an applicant as they work through online registration. If there’s a glitch, or the applicant needs to compare plan options with a spouse or see if a doctor participates in a plan, Bartley said she makes an appointment for another day.
“If they’re going to be enrolling with a spouse, I tell them to take it home, come back, and I’ll work with them,” she said.
But applying for coverage at the government site can be a nightmare for those with no or minimal computer experience.
Michelle Zwiers, director of Missouri Valley Community Action Agency’s Head Start office in Richmond, is one of two certified navigators on this side of the river. Diane Dehn, also with MVCAA in Richmond, is the other. Zwiers said of the eight applicants she’s worked with since Dec. 1, just two have completed the process and secured coverage.