Mid-Michigan sees increase in health insurance enrollment - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Mid-Michigan sees increase in health insurance enrollment

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(03/10/14) - In just three weeks, the government's deadline for having health insurance will arrive.

Millions have signed up, but millions more need to enroll.

Various health agencies say people are asking for help. Flint-based Hamilton Community Health Network says Saturday assistance programs are a success.

"Last Saturday, we enrolled 91 people. They signed up. We educated 101. The Saturday before that we had 138 enrollees and 200 educated," said Clarence Pierce, Hamilton Community Health Network CEO.

As March 31 approaches, the number of people signing up for the Affordable Health Care Act is building. The Gallup organization reports the percentage of Americans without health insurance continues to fall, measuring 15.9 percent so far in 2014, compared to 17.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013.

"We are very pleased with the way things are going with the sign ups," Pierce said.

Many of the people enrolling in Mid-Michigan are the working poor, those whose employers don't provide health insurance. At the Bay and Saginaw Health Plans, they are conducting education and enrollment sessions with 15 people each hour, Monday through Friday.

Many find the government Website confusing.

"Most people really don't understand this whole process of signing up. What we do is we try to educate," Pierce said.

The Obama administration has said in order for ACA to work as planned, a large number of healthy young people would have to enroll. In the Flint area, that hasn't been happening.

"Not as much as we would like. We are trying to make sure we get the information out to more young people, particularly college students," Pierce said.

The Obama administration is employing the financial carrot-and-stick approach to encourage people to fill out the forms.

"There is a penalty that the government imposes on those people who not sign up," Pierce said.

For more information on Hamilton Community Health Network, click here.

For more information on the Genesee Health Plan, click here.

For more information on the Saginaw Health Plan, click here.

For more information on the Bay Health Plan, click here.

To find help in your area, click here and here.

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