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Affordable Care Act Still Leaves Some Confused

Health experts are still answering a lot of questions about the Affordable Care Act.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Tyler Graff is prepared to help uninsured people get health coverage.

And as an outreach and enrollment specialist with Northwest Health Services, he's answered a lot of questions already.

"October first was a big deal," Graff said, referring to the opening of the government's new healthcare exchange.  "That date was thrown out there a lot.  It's important to understand that that was a starting point and not a deadline."

It's Graff's job to provide free services to people who don't have the ability or the trust in themselves to complete the enrollment process.

The healthcare exchange is set up through President Obama's Affordable Care Act.

"We're getting a lot of calls with patients that have Medicaid and Medicare, wanting to know how it affects them," Graff said.  "If you have private insurance or your employer has insurance, if you have Medicare or Medicaid this doesn't affect you.  There's no need to log on."

But logging on the health care website and signing up has been a little difficult for some.

Many users are finding an error message telling them that the website has too many visitors.

This has some in the federal government point a finger at what they say is a bad system.

"It's going to destroy the private healthcare system," said Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who has been very vocally against the Affordable Care Act.  "You have hundreds of millions of people who right now have private health insurance that is jeopardized by Obamacare.  So when it collapses I don't want it to destroy the health coverage we have now."

One provision of the Affordable Care Act is the option to offer Medicaid to more people.

Missouri is one of 26 states that opted out of that expansion.

"In essence without being expanded we have what's called the donut hole who don't qualify for other services through the government and don't qualify for Medicaid," Graff said.  "We're really trying to help people find some suggestions and find out what we can do to help them find the best options."

Graff says he and his coworkers are aware that the Affordable Care Act has been politicized, but that doesn't mean it's going away.

"We're not here to sway anyone's opinion on it or tell you how to feel. We're here t give you the facts.  It's been signed, it's a law, it's here," he said.  "It's going to affect a lot of people so we want to give you the information and help you out in any way."

And that information is just a click or a phone call away.

Graff's phone number is 816-244-9610.
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