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ACA Community Partnership Future

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) March 31 marks the last day that people can sign up for Health Insurance, or face a penalty for not having coverage. Locally, the Linn County Community Partnership has taken a leading role getting people signed up for health insurance plans. Balancing the efforts of 24 different organizations means people like Vickie Shannon are covered.

"I hadn't had insurance for two years so I was really excited about this hoping I could find insurance that was affordable, said Shannon.

Just like many couldnt make any progress through the website on October 1st, Shannon had trouble for weeks inputting her most basic information.

"It was to the point where I almost gave up, thinking "This isn't even worth it, I would rather pay the fine, said Shannon.

That was when Vickie got help from the Linn County Community Partnership. After weeks of frustration, Vickie was signed up in a half hour.

Her insurance takes effect tomorrow.

On April 1st, the partnerships role will change. Itll still teach people the things they need to know for the next open enrollment in November, but now with the United Way of East Central Iowa helping as a central facilitator.

The United Way will also have a portion of its website dedicated to providing information and documents to application counselors and the general public.

"In the spirit of partnership, you want a neutral organization working with all the different entities so that the community has a common ground to come to, said Affordable Care Act Education and Outreach Specialist Jeff Tourdot.

Tourdot says the key to getting ready for next November is building on whats already been done.

"The success that's been gained this year really comes from people being willing to work together, said Tourdot.

"The best part about it is now we have other communities that are looking at us and they've seen the success that we've had and they're saying, "How can we build a partnership in our communities in a very similar way, said United Way 2-1-1 Manager Chris Juett.

Juett says taking the Linn County template to other places is definitely something that will be discussed. The Affordable Care Act part of the United Ways website is expected to be up sometime in May.
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