A woman whose job it is to help uninsured Georgians sign up for health coverage says she’s in a holding pattern, as the Healthcare.gov website spins its wheels.
Tammy Allen is one of a dozen so-called "navigators" hired by the University of Georgia with a federal grant to help people obtain insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Problems with Healthcare.gov are preventing people from enrolling, so she’s using this time to focus on education, she said.
"It is difficult to convince someone that they can afford something that they have been doing without for 20 years," Allen said. "We’re trying to help people understand that it’s an investment in yourself, not the government."
Governor Nathan Deal’s administration opted not to create Georgia’s own insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act, thus people in the state are at the mercy of the federal system.
Allen is tasked with helping people across an 11-county region, including Middle Georgia. The most common misconception she encounters is that some people think their insurance plan will be free, she said.
"People think we’re giving something away. That’s not what this is," Allen said. "I’m just trying to encourage everyone to realize this is an insurance policy that you would buy, from like Blue Cross Blue Shield, you’re just going to get some assistance if you qualify for it."
About 600,000 Georgians would have qualified for free coverage under Medicaid had Deal not also declined federal money to expand eligibility.