Health Team

Nonprofit works to inform people of options under new health law

Posted September 10, 2013

— An estimated 1.3 million North Carolinians don't have health insurance, and the Affordable Care Act requires everyone to have coverage by next year or pay a tax penalty.

Facing that deadline, Sorien Schmidt's mission is to get as many state residents covered as possible in the coming weeks.

Schmidt is the state director of Enroll America, a privately funded nonprofit that aims to help the uninsured learn about the online marketplace where people can compare available insurance plans and sign up for coverage. The marketplace, known as an exchange, opens for enrollment Oct. 1.

"Polling data includes a lot of people who are confused about what's available to them and how to access it, and so that's why we're really concentrating on going out to get that kind of information," Schmidt said Tuesday.

"The most important thing for us at this point is to let people know, if you’re uninsured, if you feel like your insurance is not covering what you need, you should go and look at t his and see if you can get the best plan for you (and) your family so that you’re comfortable at night knowing your health care needs are met," she said.

About one-fifth of North Carolina's uninsured people live in Wake, Mecklenburg and Guilford counties, Schmidt said.

"A large percentage of those are actually working, and as many as 80 percent are living in families with workers. So, they really reflect the new market of contractors (and) part-time workers, and it’s harder to get insurance," she said.

Enroll America brochure, Affordable Care Act Group targets areas where uninsured live, shop

Enroll America is taking a grassroots approach to its outreach effort, using census data and mapping technology to target specific neighborhoods.

"We'll be at tables at churches and be outside Walmart, places where we think the uninsured will be going or more likely to live," she said.

A door-to-door effort in the targeted neighborhoods will take place Sept. 21.

Schmidt said, however, that Enroll America volunteers won't actually enroll anyone in any health plan. They will provide brochures and explain their options, she said.

"We want to protect people's privacy," she said. "We understand they would have to give out personal information if we were doing it at the door, so we want to lead them to experts to provide that kind of help."


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  • BGJ Sep 12, 2013

    To qualify for subsidies you must purchase at least the "silver" level of insurance. The basic bronze level does not qualify. - foodstamptrader

    The subsidy AMOUNT is based on the silver plan and that amount can be applied as a credit to the Bronze plan in order to lower monthly premiums.

  • flyguync Sep 11, 2013

    I wonder how much scrutiny this organization received from the IRS prior to receiving non-profit status.............

  • dollibug Sep 11, 2013

    And who is overseeing this project to make sure they have been trained properly and are doing their jobs correctly????? Communication, training and interpretation of the laws is what is MOST IMPORTANT.

  • norainonmyparade Sep 11, 2013

    "But they didn't tell us that we would have to Take Generic Drugs, Cheaper because they are Cheaper to make and don't work live the Real Drug. Lied to again." bmac813

    Pharmaceutical companies spend millions of dollars in research and drug studies before a drug is FDA approved to go on the market. They have a patent good for a certain number of years, and as the only provider of a drug can charge what they want. That amount, and being the exclusive provider, are benefits to offset the cost of research and development of the drug. Other companies then make the generic when the patent expires - and it's cheaper because they aren't trying to recoup millions of dollars spent on research. The active ingredients are THE SAME as the brand - the only difference is in the inactive ingredients. MOST generic drugs work just as well as the brand name drug, though people sometimes have reactions to the inactive ingredients. You clearly know very little about the pharmaceutical industry.

  • icmfal Sep 11, 2013

    sweetsea2: what is an Obamaphones?

  • ILoveDowntownRaleigh Sep 11, 2013

    "What a joke. The insurance industry, hospital cartels, and big pharma are laughing all the way to the bank. Their stooge Obama delivered the goods far beyond even their wildest expectations!...
    Thanks to our elected servants we all are going to get fleeced" - foodstamptrader

    Just a reminder that it's obstructionist Republican politicians you support who forced damaging compromises in the ACA legislation, have continued to make every effort to block ACA's implementation, deliberately spread misinformation about ACA, and do all possible to reduce ACA's value to American citizens.

    Who do you think this Republican behavior benefits? YOU? I don't think so, dude. Think about it. Has to be big pharma, big insurance, other corporate interests in the health care industry, and finally all other corporations whose primary interest is not paying insurance for their employees.

    ACA's been ramping up for 5 years. You and your Republican politicians are free to propose ideas and amendments.

  • gnostradame Sep 11, 2013

    hey whatelseisnew, nice try with the regurgitation of false information. maybe you should check the facts. in NY and other states that are working to implement ACA, rates have gone DOWN, in some cases way down.

    "I hope this nonprofit is also showing people policies outside of the ACA exchanges. They are cheaper because you can still choose policies that do not include unnecessary coverage options. At least for now. Sad to say OBamaCare has made those policies more expensive.

  • gnostradame Sep 11, 2013

    hey foodstamptrader, pretty obnoxious handle you have there but whatever. as to your also-obnoxious comment, I wonder if insurance companies are as happy as you say with the new 80/20 rule where insurance companies must spend at least 80 cents of your premium dollar on your health care. I bet they just LOVE the ban on murder by spreadsheet where they remove people according to preexisting conditions.

    once again, you voted against your own best interests and regurgitated the dogma of the 1%. nice job.

  • yankee1 Sep 11, 2013

    Gee, I wonder who is gonna train Sorien Schmidt? Wonder how much she makes compared to a teacher?

  • foodstamptrader Sep 11, 2013

    "Are all those "subsidies" for the basic coverage or for the top of the line?" - jlhpcarew

    To qualify for subsidies you must purchase at least the "silver" level of insurance. The basic bronze level does not qualify.

    The government does not want to incentivize folks to choose plans that are less profitable for their paymasters the insurance industry cartels.