Volunteers spread word about new healthcare act



Local volunteers went door-to-door on Saturday to inform Little Havana residents about new health insurance options that will be available to them starting in October.

A group of almost 16 volunteers went out for about two hours, explaining to residents what the new law will mean for them and their families.

As part of a national consumer engagement launched by Get Covered America, this initiative known as “Health Insurance Marketplaces,” aims to educate consumers about the new health coverage options that will be available under the Affordable Care Act.

Hosted at Mejias Medical Center, Get Covered America staffers hit the streets at 10 a.m., handing out pamphlets and worksheets with information on the new act and teaching volunteers tactics on how to approach each residential home. Making introductions short and to the point, for example, would keep residents from shutting the door, organizers said.

Beginning October 1, “Health Insurance Marketplaces” will allow people to compare prices and shop for health insurance online or by phone. For more information on the program visit www.getcoveredamerica.org.

Romelito Charles, 32, heard about the opportunity to join the volunteer group and felt that his pastor, Anel Mecidieu, who is recovering from a bad arm injury, would benefit from it as well.

Mecidieu, 30, who has been in the U.S. almost a year after moving from Haiti, does not have health insurance.

“I heard about the Get Covered campaign and I knew that he really needed the information,” Charles said. “I know for him alone, the cost of aspirin is too much if it’s prescribed by a doctor.”

Under the new Affordable Care Act, those who currently do not have health insurance will be given the opportunity to buy healthcare plans at a low cost.

Raymond Paultre, the state organizing director for Get Covered America, explained that in order for the future health coverage information to reach everyone in Florida, they will need help spreading the word.

“We are building an organization of volunteers, and you can’t do that with staff alone,” Paultre said. “No amount of tweeting or Facebook or TV ads is going to do that. People need to feel comfortable and speak with people who speak their language and come from the same neighborhoods.”

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