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Local residents get help with Obamacare signup


By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

  Dozens of local residents gathered Saturday at Red Oak United Methodist Church in Stockbridge to learn more about their health insurance options and sign up for coverage they may need.

  State Rep. Demetrius Douglas of Stockbridge, a Democrat who represents District 78, hosted an Affordable Care Act enrollment event and was pleased with the turnout.

Anthony, center, signed up for a health and dental plan Saturday with the help of Michael, the volunteer navigator who signed him up. At right is state Rep. Demetrius Douglas.                                                         Special photo

  “The need in Henry and Clayton counties is great, with 60,000 uninsured,” said Douglas, who hosted a couple of these events before the legislative session began. “I thought our presence would help some of those people get signed up.”

  With so many media reports about confusion among citizens regarding Obamacare, having professional help available for face-to-face consultations is vitally important, according to Douglas.

  “A lot of these people in the areas I serve don’t have computers, so it is advantageous that they come out,” he said. “They’ve been showing up in droves to get signed up.”

  The signup room was staffed with several “navigators” who help resident across the state on a regular basis.

  About 20 people went through the process at this event, according to Molly Brown, an organizer with Enroll America, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization tasked with increasing the number of people enrolled in and retaining health coverage.

  Not all of them completed the process. A few had computer issues but learned enough that they can go home and finish on their own, Brown said. Some others fall into what she called the “Medicaid gap,” meaning they are ineligible because the state did not expand Medicaid.

  The important thing for Douglas was giving citizens the chance to learn and review all of their options.

  “Even if they have insurance, I want them to come out and get educated,” he said. “If they don’t have enough coverage, they can get it. It doesn’t take long.” Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act ends next week.

  The next event Douglas has organized is Saturday from noon until 3 p.m. at the Lovejoy Community Center, 11622 Hastings Bridge Road in Lovejoy.  Navigators will be available to help citizens enroll in an insurance plan using the federally-created insurance exchange system.

  Potential enrollees need to provide their Social Security numbers (or document numbers for legal immigrants); employer and income information for every member of the household who needs coverage; policy numbers for any current health insurance plans covering members of the household; and a completed Employer Coverage Tool (available at

  For more information, contact Douglas’ office at



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