Elected Officials in Pittsburgh Join GCA in Leading Affordable Care Act Outreach and Enrollment

January 31, 2014

Elected Leaders Across Pennsylvania Team Up With Get Covered America to Spread Word About Affordable Health Coverage

By Paydon Miller, Enroll America Pennsylvania Communications Lead

PITTSBURGH, PA – With just over two months left in open enrollment, Get Covered America in Pennsylvania has teamed up with over twenty elected officials across the state to spread the word about the new health care options and financial assistance now available to consumers under the Affordable Care Act. In Pittsburgh, Get Covered America has partnered with State Representatives Erin Molchany and Dan Frankel, and other elected officials, to inform uninsured residents about the Health Insurance Marketplace through enrollment events, informational sessions, and canvasses.

“As we work with Pittsburgh’s uninsured, the biggest obstacle we encounter is the perception that these plans are simply not affordable,” said Bill England, Pennsylvania State Director of Get Covered America. “We’re teaming up with these elected leaders to let folks know that financial assistance is available to help them pay for their plans.  Once they understand that they can afford coverage, the uninsured are eager to learn more and to take advantage of their new coverage options.”

A recent survey released by Get Covered America showed that perceived lack of affordability – not healthcare.gov glitches or other technical problems – remains the largest barrier stopping the uninsured from enrolling in affordable coverage. The survey showed that an astounding 69% of the uninsured were unaware that financial assistance is available to help them pay for the plan they choose. In fact, 76% of Pennsylvanians who enrolled in the Health Insurance Marketplace received financial assistance.

“With an open-door office located on a neighborhood main street, I meet people all the time seeking help with all levels of government,” said Representative Erin C. Molchany (D-Allegheny), who has held information sessions and knocked on doors for the Get Covered Campaign.  “I believe in affordable, accessible healthcare for everyone and have made my office a resource center to help people make their decision to get covered.”

Representative Molchany’s office continues to offer in-person assistance and has begun to focus on reaching out to young people before they turn 26 to let them know how to begin comparing their health insurance options.  She was recently asked by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to share these initiatives with other state representatives from around the country.

“Some of the hardest phone calls I’ve received in the decade I’ve been in office are from individuals without insurance, who have no way of getting it,” said Representative Dan Frankel, another key leader who will be holding at least five community enrollment events across his district before the March 31 deadline to get coverage. “Now, finally, I’m able to tell people that we can help. You can bet that I’m doing my best to make sure that my constituents know about the Affordable Care Act, and that we do everything we can to help them get the health insurance coverage they’ve been waiting for.”

Moving forward, Get Covered America in Pennsylvania will continue hosting enrollment events with elected officials to connect the uninsured with information and in-person assistance so they understand their coverage options and how they can protect their families. Get Covered America has also teamed up with places of worship, unions, community health centers, and more to ensure that they can reach every uninsured Pennsylvanian.

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