Blacks in South urged to enroll in health care plans

Betty Cooper and other volunteers in Monroe, La., are dropping off fliers at housing developments, sticking them in students’ backpacks and delivering them to area churches.

The fliers, featuring a smiling African-American family, invite people to Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church each Saturday this month to learn more about the Affordable Care Act — and hopefully to enroll in a health insurance plan.

It’s all part of a determined effort by community groups, churches and civil rights organizations — particularly in the South — to sign up more African Americans for health care under the federal law ahead of the March 31 enrollment deadline.

This month’s big deadline: What you need to know

Sick of hearing about the health care law?

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Plenty of people have tuned out after all the political jabber and website woes.

But now is the time to tune back in, before it’s too late.

The big deadline is coming March 31.

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Health care navigators fight misinformation

Mike Jones (not his real name) didn’t have a lot of confidence that the Affordable Care Act would do him much good. A self-employed truck driver, Jones, 61, had good reason to be skeptical: The health-insurance plans he had found previously were way out of his financial reach, so he had remained uninsured. If he got sick, he would go to a clinic where a sliding scale allowed him to pay what he could for health care. Nonetheless, he was willing to find out. So he gathered his tax documents and showed up at the desk of a marketplace navigator, someone trained to help people enroll in new plans under the ACA. He was in for a pleasant surprise. It turned out he qualified for a plan that (costs him) about $20,” a month, said Jarvis Dortch, one of Mississippi’s navigators. “He came back about two times, because he thought, ‘This can’t be right.’”