Get Covered America’s “Countdown to Get Covered” Series: Elected Officials Across Pennsylvania Step Up Enrollment Effort As Deadline Approaches

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 20, 2014
CONTACT: Justin Nisly
Press@enrollamerica.org | 202-601-2494

Washington, DC – With less than two weeks to go, Get Covered America is engaging trusted voices in communities across the country to get the word out that March 31 is the deadline to enroll in quality and affordable health insurance. In Pennsylvania, elected leaders across the state have been eager to join Get Covered America volunteer teams to make sure those who stand to benefit in their communities have access to the information and resources they need to get covered. As of March 1, nearly 160,000 Pennsylvanians had enrolled in private coverage through the Affordable Care Act, in addition to thousands more who have qualified for coverage through Medicaid. The daily “Countdown to Get Covered Series” features stories of creative events and consumer outreach from the frontlines of enrollment. The previous “Countdown to Get Covered” updates are available here.

(Left to right): Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, County Councilman Bill Robinson, and Congressman Mike Doyle stand with a Get Covered America t-shirt at the Homewood YMCA enrollment event in Pittsburgh, PA on March 18, 2014.

This past Tuesday, the Get Covered America campaign in Pennsylvania teamed up with Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto and Congressman Mike Doyle to launch the final enrollment push in the city. Held at the Homewood YWCA, the event connected certified application counselors from the community with the uninsured to give them free, in-person assistance to talk about their new health care options. The participants were just as diverse as the city of Pittsburgh – faith leaders, young people, city and county officials, the uninsured, and more.

“For years, a lot of folks have had to go without health insurance and take their chances on getting sick because they couldn’t afford the premiums,” Congressman Doyle observed. “Far too many Americans lost that gamble and ended up with massive medical bills. We’re here today to urge you to sign up, and to let you know how to get help with the whole process if you need it – online, over the phone, or in person. A number of local events are scheduled over the next two weeks where you can get face-to-face help learning about your options and signing up. Don’t delay – the deadline for signing up is March 31st.”

Valerie Walls was one of the 27 Pittsburghers who spoke with application counselors Tuesday. Valerie had walked into the YWCA uninsured and looking to explore her options; she left enrolled in a silver plan that included dental along with the ten essential services that every plan must cover. The total monthly cost after tax credits: $70 per month, which is well within her budget. Her coverage will begin on May 1.

“I haven’t had insurance since 2005,” Valerie told Get Covered America volunteers after she enrolled. “This is such a blessing. I can’t believe it.”

On the other side of the state, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has also stepped up to help the uninsured access affordable coverage. On Saturday, the Get Covered America campaign joined Mayor Nutter and Congressman Chaka Fattah to launch Affordable Care Act Week in Philadelphia. Through March 31, sites around the city ranging from community health centers, to places of worship, to tax preparation sites will feature enrollment assistance to help Philadelphia’s uninsured enroll before the deadline.

Additionally, people who enter Philadelphia city agency offices are now being asked about their insurance status. City employees have been trained by Get Covered America staff so they can now talk to the uninsured or underinsured about the Affordable Care Act and how they can enroll in a quality, affordable plan.

“The level of engagement in the Affordable Care Act enrollment effort among Pennsylvania’s elected leaders is truly making a difference,” said Bill England, Pennsylvania State Director for Get Covered America. “The coalition we are building has allowed us to reach thousands of Pennsylvania’s uninsured. By working together we are able to accomplish what we could not do by ourselves – and the uninsured are benefitting because of it.”

To learn more about how Get Covered America is reaching out to consumers in Pennsylvania, contact press@enrollamerica.org to request an interview with Pennsylvania State Director Bill England.

About the “Countdown to Get Covered” Push

This event is one of thousands of events happening during Get Covered America’s March outreach blitz that will mobilize thousands of partner organizations and tens of thousands of volunteers to reach out to uninsured consumers before the March 31 deadline to enroll in health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The all-out push will employ grassroots outreach, an aggressive advertising campaign, a multi-state bus tour, and events targeted to youth, women, Latinos, and African-Americans to reach uninsured consumers where they are with the facts they need to get covered. Enroll America staff and volunteers will also host daily enrollment events during the last two weeks of open enrollment in the following communities to make sure consumers have access to in-person enrollment assistance: Phoenix, AZ; Miami, FL; Broward County, FL; Palm Beach County, FL; Tampa, FL; Orlando, FL; Jacksonville, FL; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Detroit/Ann Arbor, MI; Charlotte, NC; Raleigh, NC; Greensboro, NC; Northern NJ; Cleveland, OH; Columbus, OH; Cincinnati, OH; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Memphis, TN; Houston, TX; Austin, TX; San Antonio, TX; McAllen, TX; El Paso, TX; Waco, TX; and Dallas, TX.

About Get Covered America and Enroll America

Get Covered America is a national campaign of Enroll America that is focused on educating consumers about the benefits of health coverage and the new health insurance available under the Affordable Care Act. With operations in 11 states (AZ, FL, GA, IL, MI, NC, NJ, OH, PA, TN, and TX), our grassroots team is powered by passionate staff and volunteers with one motivating goal: to give Americans the information they need to choose an affordable health insurance plan that’s right for them and their families.

Enroll America is the nation’s leading health care enrollment coalition, bringing together community and health organizations, businesses and others to inform consumers about the new health coverage options and how to enroll in them. It is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.

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For more information on Enroll America and its efforts, visit EnrollAmerica.org.

Go to www.GetCoveredAmerica.org to understand how the new health care law will affect you and your family.

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