MOORESTOWN — The deadline for enrolling in the national health care program is March 31.
Proponents of the Affordable Care Act held an informational session Sunday at the Second Baptist Church, with the goal of informing as many people as possible about the benefits they might be eligible to receive.
State Assemblyman Troy Singleton, D-7th of Palmyra, was on hand to instruct those attending what they should do to enroll.
“I think it’s critically important that as we approach the deadline of March 31 to get more folks enrolled in the program,” Singleton said. “It’s not just critical for those of us in the Seventh District but all throughout.
“The goal is to get as many people as we can covered by health care,” he added. “We’ve seen some uptick.”
Singleton said he and his staff have waged an “aggressive campaign” to inform and educate.
“We’re pleasantly surprised at the number of people we’ve been able to see,” he said. “We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to push nationally — at least six million insured under the ACA before the 31st.”
The number of those enrolled nationwide is about 5 million.
Alescia Teel, New Jersey communications lead for Enroll America’s Get Covered campaign, said more than 74,000 New Jerseyans have enrolled. Enroll America estimates there are as many as 900,000 eligible uninsured residents in the Garden State.
Attendee Evelyn Jones has health insurance through her husband. However, he is retired and his company offered seven years of health insurance after retirement. The seven years is almost up.
“So I want to find out what should he do after the seven years (are up),” Jones said. “I think everyone should have insurance.
“Insurance is really expensive so maybe this will help everyone,” she added. “Everybody needs insurance.”
Teel also said she has seen an increase in turnout as the deadline approaches.
“What’s really interesting and really important for New Jerseyans is that 85 percent of people enrolled in New Jersey have received financial assistance,” she said. “So we really want to push people to look at what their options are and how much assistance they may be eligible for.”
Teel said the amount of assistance depends on personal income and the number of people in the household. She said a single person making up to $45,000 a year is eligible for assistance.
“I think it’s a historic moment for the entire country,” Teel said, because she believes there is now social justice for everybody in that nobody can be denied coverage even if they have a pre-existing condition and that women are not charged more.
“On a personal basis what’s really just phenomenal and really makes our work every day so worthwhile is that we’re going to see people who’ve never had health care coverage before get coverage and have access to doctors and preventative care and the medical help that they need and many times before couldn’t afford,” Teel added.
The Get Covered America campaign has partnered with nine members of the New Jersey Legislature in order to increase outreach to New Jersey’s eligible uninsured residents during the final days of open enrollment in the health insurance marketplace.
Those include New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Sen. Linda Greenstein, Sen. Nia Gill, Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald, Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, Assemblyman Daniel Benson, Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin, and Singleton.
Enroll America is a nonpartisan 501©(3) organization whose mission is to maximize the number of uninsured Americans who enroll in health coverage made available by the Affordable Care Act.
Those interested in enrolling can visit www.getcoveredamerica.org, enter a ZIP code in the search field and local events and enrollment assistance will be shown. On Twitter: @GetCoveredNJ.
Also, Singleton’s staff can assist people with their questions at 856-234-2790.
Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D-District 7) is willing to help and can be reached at 856-461-3997.