AURORA, Colo. — Angela Graham, 51, has not had health insurance for years, and is not covered by her job conducting telephone surveys.
“It’s something I’m definitely interested in,” Ms. Graham said after picking up an informational packet on Colorado’s new health care exchange, which opened on Tuesday along with others across the nation as part of the federal Affordable Care Act. “I don’t go to the doctor these days. I just pray. That’s the honest to god truth.”
Ms. Graham was among a group of curious people at the Aurora Public Library, outside Denver, who stopped by a table set up by the Aurora Mental Health Center. It had stationed experts — known as “navigators” — there to tell people about the new health care coverage options available under the law. Ms. Graham said she had never heard anything about the exchange before walking into the library on Tuesday and she planned on checking with her employer to see if she was eligible.
Jesse Lopez, who was helping coordinate enrollment for the group, said he had been answering an array of questions, namely from people wondering if they qualified for the exchange through their employers.
“We’re trying to let people know that we’re up and running and de-escalating any frustration they may have,” he said. “It’s a new program, and it’s somewhat of an emotional debate for folks. There is such a wide array of information out there so the concern for us is that the accurate information hasn’t always been going out.”
Craig Messinger, a retired state highway maintenance worker, said he was also strongly considering enrolling.
Mr. Messinger, 60, who is on disability because of a spinal condition, said he paid a nearly $500 a month premium for a Blue Cross Blue Shield health plan, money provided by his state retirement pension. It seemed an exorbitant amount, he said, considering he only collected an additional $1,400 a month in disability. And that didn’t include payments for prescription drugs or other health care needs.
“I’ve been waiting for this to kick in. Things have been incredibly tight,” he said, as he perused a packet on enrollment. “I’m needing to do some quick research to try and figure out which plan is going to work best for me so I can bring down my insurance cost.”