Organization leaders and a state senator expressed optimism Wednesday in Omaha that the new health insurance marketplace will be ready to operate and easy to use on Oct. 1.
State Sen. Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha said Oct. 1 will mark a big step toward “turning the Affordable Care Act's promise into reality.” The law, also called Obamacare, was passed in 2010 to cover millions of uninsured Americans by 2014.
Questions remain about how simple it will be to use the online marketplace, with low-cost bronze, silver, gold and high-cost platinum plans to compare and select from, and assistance on tax credits that will help some pay premiums. The enrollment period will go through March 2014.
Speakers at a press conference in northeast Omaha said it will work out satisfactorily. “America has the best health care system on Earth, but everyone cannot enjoy that privilege because it hasn't been affordable — until now,” said Richard Brown, head of the Charles Drew Health Center.
Close to 70 “navigators” — people who have spent about 20 hours in training — will help people enroll across the state. They will be provided by Community Action of Nebraska and the Ponca Tribe. Dozens of application counselors, who will get less training, will be used by the six community health centers and other groups across the state.
Nanette Foster Reilly of the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services encouraged those with questions about the marketplace to visit www.healthcare.gov online or call 1-800-318-2596.
Brown said that it will not be as difficult to enroll as some have speculated. People will find “it's not as complicated as it seems,” he said.