Healthcare navigator Taqiyya Orr helps taxi driver Paramjit Singh enroll himself and his family in the Affordable Care Act at a previous enrollment event at the Philadelphia Taxi Workers Union headquarters organized by Enroll America. Credit: Charles Mostoller/Metro
Elected officials will come together on Saturday to kick off a week of events geared at helping uninsured Philadelphians get health care on the government exchange before open enrollment ends.
"This is the beginning of the final push from right now through March 31," said Bill England, state director of Enroll America Pennsylvania, which is working in conjunction with city government to inform the public about the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
"Get the word out, get your questions answered, and get the insurance you deserve," is how England described the purpose of the week of action.
The kickoff event, "It Makes Cents to Get Covered!" is scheduled to take place at the Columbia North YMCA, at 1400 N. Broad St. near Master Street.
"We find that people don’t quite understand some of the nuances, and because they don’t understand the nuances, they may think this doesn’t apply to them," said Patricia Coulter, president and CEO of the Urban League of Philadelphia, of the Affordable Care Act.
"We want to make sure people understand how to access the health care [website] and how to get the information they need to be able to sign up," she said. "Our effort comes down to one of helping to mobilize people."
Congressman Chaka Fattah and state Sen. Vincent Hughes will also be at the kick-off event Saturday.
The "week of action" includes an enrollment event at Bright Hope church and a summit for volunteers hosted by Resources for Human Development.
Trained navigators will be available to assist the uninsured with getting healthcare through the government exchanges, and will also be training new volunteers to help even more people.
"We’re really trying to touch people in a way that they will them carry the message back to their own children and relatives," Coulter said.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 123,681 people enrolled via the government exchange in Pennsylvania as of Feb. 1. About 3.3 million people nationally have enrolled in the government exchanges.
But as of March 31, open enrollment into the government exchanges will cease, and remain closed until October.
At that point, individuals who are uninsured will have to pay a new tax also created by the ACA.
"Time is beginning to get short," England said.
Week of Action schedule
All events are enrollment events unless otherwise noted.
Saturday, Feb. 15
Kickoff event with Congressman Fattah, Sen. Hughes, Coulter and England, Columbia North YMCA, 1400 N. Broad St. 11:00-3:00 p.m.
Shop Rite, Fox St & Roberts Ave. 2:00 pm - 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 16
Bright Hope Baptist Church 1601 N. 12th (at 12th & Cecil B Moore), 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 17
City of Philadelphia District Health Centers area and federally qualified health care centers, 8:30-4:30 p.m. For locations, go to www.healthfederation.org.
Tuesday, Feb. 18
Medicaid Expansion Rally, 200 S. Broad St. Noon – 1:00 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 19
NEXT Philadelphia Event: TGIFridays, 4000 City Ave.
Thursday, Feb. 20
Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia, 5412 N. 5th St., 9:30 am – 4pm
Volunteer Summit, Resources for Human Development, 4700 Wissahickon Ave., 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. (new volunteers welcome)
Friday, Feb. 21
City of Philadelphia District Health Centers area federally qualified health care centers, 8:30-4:30 p.m. For locations, go to www.healthfederation.org.
Saturday, Feb. 22
Rising Sun Health Center 5675 North Front St.
PHMC Health Connection, 1035 W. Berks Street
Congresso Health Center, 216 West Somerset St.
Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Association Coalition, 1711 South Broad St, 2nd fl. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Church of Christian Compassion, 6121 Cedar Ave., 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
SRA International, 4109 Main St., 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.