NORTH FULTON, Ga. – It’s no secret the Affordable Care Act – also known as “Obamacare” – can be confusing. In an effort to help their clients, North Fulton Community Charities (NFCC) is offering guidance to navigate the many layers of the ACA.
Eden Purdy, director of programs for NFCC, said they have partnered with the Jewish Family Career Service Center to provide a state “navigator,” that is, someone certified to offer guidance on obtaining health care.
“[The navigator] will come out twice a month to help clients screen and complete their applications and answer questions about health care and help them make the right choices,” Purdy said.
In Georgia, the ACA was further complicated when the state opted out of expanding Medicare and Medicaid, making insurance tough to afford.
“Many of our clients won’t be able to afford the insurance or benefits of the marketplace,” Purdy said. “We are hoping that there will be other options for them.”
In addition to the navigator, Purdy said the NFCC is certified by the federal government as an organization that can train volunteers to help with the ACA in conjunction with the navigator.
“On days the navigator is not here, volunteers can assist clients,” Purdy said, including answering questions, helping understand their choices and helping screen applicants.
“We’re hoping between the two of these options, we will be better positioned to serve those in our community who are struggling to grasp this concept.”
Purdy said she sees about 24 people each Monday seeking help on similar programs. Given the complexity of the ACA, she expects double the usual number of people knocking on her door.
Given the need, having a certified group is essential. Purdy said she is already hearing of scam artists conning people out of health care money.
“We’ve already heard from clients of people who are set up in the apartments and communities who have charged money to help process an application,” Purdy said. “These people have no business doing it. Only navigators or certified application counselors can give help. They are taking advantage of people.”
NFCC offers the program and advice free of charge.
Each year, NFCC helps more than 5,000 needy families in the North Fulton area with food, clothing and emergency assistance, as well as providing skills training and help with government programs.
The navigator will begin helping clients of the NFCC beginning in December on the second and fourth Mondays. Check www.nfcchelp.org for a list of available dates and times.