Council on Aging volunteer navigator Kayla Shaffer answers some basic questions:
Which specific populations is the Council on Aging hoping to get enrolled?
All ages, all demographics. We're responsible for 10 counties. We've focused on Buncombe, but we're doing tremendous outreach work in the rural counties as well.
What's the response been like so far? Any surprises?
It's been very positive. People coming to the outreach sessions want to be there, they want to understand what's going on, and they want to dispel any misconceptions. They're open and they're interested; they want to move forward with the ACA.
What are the main public misunderstandings your organization has encountered about the process? What needs to be cleared up?
Some of the false information is regarding the responsibility fee [the fine people may have to pay if they don't have health insurance after March 31, 2014]. People have a big fear about what that's going to be. There are exemptions from the fees, so people should not have a fear that if they are economically stretched, there's not a way to help them out.
Another big misconception is that people who are on Medicare have to do something different now. Anyone who is on public health insurance already has health insurance and will be fine. The ACA is aimed at people who are self-insured or uninsured.