March 18, 2016
By: Nora Cadena, Austin, TexasI’m the media and marketing coordinator for our health insurance enrollment program. But like everybody else on our team, I’m also a Certified Application Counselor, helping people find, enroll in and use their Marketplace health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Our nonprofit organization, Foundation Communities, was established in Austin to provide affordable homes and free support services for families, veterans, seniors and individuals with disabilities. Since 2013, Foundation Communities has helped more than 16,500 people sign up for quality health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
I am enthusiastic about the ACA and the many consumer protections now in place. In my double roles, I help people understand how Marketplace health insurance plans work. Health insurance is a complicated business. Our clients range from people who are new to health insurance to folks who previously had coverage through work and now have to learn to manage their individual plan. They include Spanish speakers (I’m bilingual) and people with non-traditional jobs in Austin’s gig economy, like musicians and artists.
Some of the situations I hear about are heart-breaking, and one of our biggest challenges is bringing in people who have already decided that they can’t afford health insurance. For example, Walter, a 55-year-old Texan, was one of them, but his family finally pressured him into getting covered. We helped him understand the plans in the Marketplace, and he found one for a premium of under $40 a month after tax credits.
READ MORE: ACA’s Sixth Anniversary: Helping Others Get Covered