First day to enroll in the ACA marketplace brings new changes

HOUSTON - Wednesday is the day people can start enrolling for health care on the Affordable Care Act marketplaces.

Yes. It still exists. And that's a surprise to some.

“So many people have no idea that the Affordable Care Act is still here because of all the shenanigans going on in Washington, D.C.,” said Rodney Ellis, State Senator from the 13th District.

It may be possible that many did not know about the day because the federal dollars that have usually gone toward getting the word out in the past have gone away.

“Legacy is stepping up to fill that information gap. With an ad campaign, PR campaign, to get the word out that to let people know now's the time to enroll. There is affordable insurance for low income folks and the deadline is December 15,” said Kevin Nix, with Legacy Community Health.

December 15? That's only like 45 days! You had 90 days in years past.

But what about folks hit by Harvey?

“If you can not make it, if you don't have your documents because you were affected by the storm, maybe you lost your social security card, or your children's social security card, birth certificates, information that you don't remember on hand, your tax information. That extension, keep looking for it, actively look for it right now, and Dec.16, if you don't have it by then, you can enroll by phone only," said Trilena Amos, Legacy Community Health.

And use that phone! The Enroll Gulf Coast Collaborative is helping lead folks through the maze of questions and requirements. Call 832-393-5423 for assistance.

They were even calling past enrollees to remind them to enroll!

So far the exchange website, Healthcare.gov, has held up ok.

But experts say don't wait until the 15th. Lots of folks do that, and then the site struggles with all that traffic. And if it's one thing we all can agree on, is the hate for too much traffic.