After meeting, Arlington resident still has health insurance questions

12/04/2013 8:00 AM

12/04/2013 8:01 AM

Jimmie Cheek, a 63-year-old Arlington resident, is worried that she won’t be able to get health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

She has attempted to sign up on the federal website, HealthCare.gov, to no avail.

“I’m here because of the glitches on the website,” Cheek said.

Cheek was one of more than a dozen people at a town hall meeting Tuesday night sponsored by state Rep. Chris Turner, D-Arlington, and United Way of Tarrant County to assist people needing information about the new federal healthcare law.

“That’s why I am here,’’ Cheek said, moments before she was led in to a private room by a navigator — people trained to assist consumers pick an insurance plan — at New York Senior Center in Arlington. “To get help.”

United Way staff members were on hand to answer questions about the law. The hope was to assuage people’s concerns, Turner said.

The deadline to sign up for insurance is March 31. Americans who haven’t signed up will be penalized. And residents need to know about their eligibility for tax credits based on their income.

Several people asked questions about the law, which has caused a lot of confusion, they said. One woman asked whether the law could be repealed under a new president in 2016, for example.

“If the law proves to be successful and people are able to get insurance, I don’t believe people will want to repeal it,” Turner said. “It also depends on the presidential election … so there’s no telling.

“Anything like this that the government tries to do that is this big and affects a lot of people is understandably going to be controversial.”

Turner, who has sponsored two such meetings in recent weeks, said he is hopeful the new system will work.

About six people had private meetings with navigators. After meeting with a navigator for about 15 minutes, Cheek left disappointed.

She wasn’t able to access the healthcare marketplace on the website. She said she would go home and try again.

“I guess I’m not going to have insurance by January,” Cheek said. “I guess I will have to wait until March.”

Yamil Berard, 817-390-7705

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