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As Marketplace Launches, Central Texas Groups Push for Insurance Outreach

Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

Austin officials and health advocates expressed excitement for the launch of the federally-run health insurance marketplace today. But they are also reminding people that outreach efforts have a long way to go.

“It is our responsibility to get the word out," said Central Health’s Rosie Mendoza during a press conference at United Way. "It’s everyone’s responsibility here today to help us do that.”

People continue to have questions about what they can do to sign up for health insurance through the marketplace. Many are calling 2-1-1, which leads them to operators at United Way for Greater Austin. It’s been handling a larger than usual volume of calls.

"The majority of the calls we’re receiving right now are community members who are just confused and don’t really know what the Affordable Care Act really means," Jessica Venson said. She's a director of client services at United Way for Greater Austin. Venson said over the last couple of weeks, roughly 150 calls have been related to the Affordable Care Act. But by yesterday morning it was up to 350.  

Last month, the Central Health Board of Managers doanted $300,000 to the United Way, which will use that money for education and outreach by teaming up with Foundation CommunitiesAustin Interfaith and the Latino Healthcare Forum.

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