Elsewhere online
July 18, 2014

Obamacare Learning Curve a Challenge for Health Nonprofits

Nine months into implementation of the Affordable Care Act, nonprofit health organizations are being swamped by questions from consumers who signed up for insurance coverage with little understanding of how it works, writes The Washington Post.

Lingering technical problems with the federal and state insurance exchanges and literacy and language barriers are creating a raft of problems for new enrollees, many of whom are low-income people or immigrants or have no prior experience of health insurance and concepts like deductibles and co-payments.

A federal program to educate consumers has run out of money, and community groups are stretched thin struggling to keep up with the demand for information. The widespread confusion could hamper customers' ability to use or keep their new benefits, the Post says.

"We are hearing this in probably every state that we work in," said Christine Barber of Community Catalyst, a health-care advocacy group that works with nonprofits in more than 40 states. "'OK, I have my card. What do I do now?'"