Chisago County preparing for health care exchange

It’s nearly go time in Chisago County and all other counties across the state in relation to the Affordable Care Act.

Come Oct. 1, open enrollment under the act starts.

Todd McMurray, Chisago County’s financial supervisor, explained at the Sept. 4 Chisago County Board of Commissioners meeting how county staff are preparing for the exchange.

He said the state’s call center for those seeking information on open enrollment went live Sept. 3, and Chisago County’s call center is also fully operational.

As part of the Chisago County call center, McMurray said the county has incorporated an “in-person assister.”

“This is to help people navigate through our low-income medical programs or get them information or signed up for qualified health plans,” he said. “We can earn up to $70 for each successful transition into that system.”

Library concerns

County Commissioner George McMahon said people are already turning to their local libraries with questions about open enrollment, and staff at those libraries are not trained to field those queries.

“Some people are coming in and asking for application forms,” he said. McMurray said McMahon raised a good point because low-income people who might be interested in open enrollment might not have computers at home and turn to local libraries for computer access and information.

“At some of the tables I’ve been at, that has not been discussed,” he said, noting he would bring up the concern in a future meeting with officials involved with the health care exchange.

At the end of his presentation, McMurray mentioned anyone with questions about open enrollment can visit www.mnsure.org.

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