SMYTH COUNTY, Va. - Questions still surround the Healthcare Marketplace, and people are still unsure how to sign up for the insurance. One group in Southwest Virginia is trying to help people sign up and answer any questions they can.
Healthcare.gov is a website health officials tell us has some problems and even more problems with people understanding just how the system works. "I am so low income since I have exhausted all of my unemployment benefits that I don't see how I can afford to pay an insurance premium, even though I do need it desperately," says Linda Stevenson, who is getting help signing up for insurance.
Stevenson is one of several people taking advantage of the Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems program helping people sign up for insurance. "I would love to know all the details, but I especially need to know if there is something that I can get that I can afford," adds Stevenson.
Thursday the group was in Saltville, Virginia sitting down with clients one-on-one helping them sign up. Cindy Corrigan works with the group and tells us a lot of people have the same questions. "Do I have to apply for this? Do I qualify for this? The biggest one is how much will it cost? Will I be able to keep seeing the doctor that I currently have," says Corrigan.
Corrigan tells us before they can answer those questions, people have to register on the website. "You have to actually register and put your personal information in there before you can even look at the menus of the plans," adds Corrigan.
Corrigan tells us that can be difficult because they've had so many problems with the website. That's why they are signing people up over the phone or with a written form while the bugs on the website are worked out. "The 1-800 number that they have, so far we haven't had any difficulty with that. As soon as we can call that number somebody usually answers," says Corrigan.
Meanwhile, people like Stevenson are hoping to have some answers about the program. "If somebody has already been there done that they'll know what to tell you," adds Stevenson.
The Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems have two more information sessions coming up. The next is in Bristol, Virginia at the Twin City Medical Center on October 29, then at the Meadowview Health Clinic on November 7. Both sessions will lasts from 12 until 6 p.m.