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State Decision to Opt Out of ACA 'Exchanges' Creates Information Gap

Some residents are frustrated, confused as they must fend for themselves as state provides scant assistance

By Caren Chesler, Courtesy of NJ Spotlight

Samy Cheng-Robles had a friend who was a struggling artist with no health insurance. When the friend came down with an ailment that required a visit to the gynecologist, she paid the doctor out-of-pocket. But a few weeks later, she received a $600 bill for laboratory work that took her months to pay off. When the friend developed a problem with her eye several months later, she opted to not go to a doctor, saying she would go next year when she could afford it.

While Cheng-Robles has health insurance, her friend’s dilemma awakened her to the plight of those who don’t have coverage. So when Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, designed to make sure everyone has health insurance, and New Jersey officials did little to help its residents obtain coverage, she got annoyed -- annoyed enough to join Organizing for Change, which advocates for President Barack Obama’s agenda.

Over the last two months, Cheng-Robles has visited Ocean County Community College, libraries, local pharmacies and supermarkets, explaining to people how to obtain coverage under the new law and telling them where they can go for help in applying. She said there were about 30 people at the college, alone, who wanted to sign up but didn’t know how.

Read more at NJSpotlight.com

NJ Spotlight is an issue-driven news website that provides critical insight to New Jersey’s communities and businesses. It is non-partisan, independent, policy-centered and community-minded. 

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