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Pasadena City College Hosts Open Enrollment Under Affordable Care Act

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CBS Los Angeles (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSLA.com/ACA

Health News & Information: CBSLA.com/Health

PASADENA (CBSLA.com) — Health insurance industry experts were on hand Tuesday at Pasadena City College to help people sign up under the Affordable Care Act.

More than 20 individual insurance experts certified by Covered California spoke with individuals about enrollment, coverage and insurance costs, according to the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce.

KCAL9’s Dave Bryan reported that while attendance for the free event wasn’t exactly standing-room only, for people like Georgie Sifarelli, the fair was a success.

“I was lost [when I looked for information online]. I couldn’t even find where I was at. You just can’t sit in front of a screen and absorb it. You really need to have verbal communication or you need to have paper,” she said.

Sifarelli’s insurance agent, Naama Pozniak, said business is booming because so many people are looking for help to sign up for health care plans.

“I’m 25 years in the business [and] I never had, in my life, a walk-in into my office. I have people that just come sit down and say, ‘Help me. I need help right now,’” she said.

The outlook for 1.1 million Californians whose health insurance is being canceled, however, isn’t so bright, Bryan reported.

Dede Kennedy-Simington, the president of the Los Angeles Association of Health Underwriters, believes Covered California will likely not allow the extension of canceled existing policies, despite a request from President Obama.

“I would assume that we probably will not because of the complexities of it. We’re so far down the road. Consumers do have options of plans that they can pick up. The unfortunate piece is that they’re going to be stronger plans and richer plans, and thereby, more expensive,” she said.

Gov. Jerry Brown spoke about the upcoming decision to extend the canceled policies at an appearance in Sacramento, but didn’t offer any new information.

“Covered California will take some steps. What they are, we’ll announce as the days and weeks go forward. You can be sure we’re gonna be careful to both be sensitive to all the potential customers of this Affordable Care Act, and also, the financial viability going forward,” he said.

The Covered California board is expected to discuss the issue at a meeting on Thursday. There is some speculation that the board will adopt a compromise that will extend the canceled plans to February or March.

Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange, led the nation in enrollments during its inaugural month of operation with 35,000 tentative sign-ups, roughly about one-fifth what the Obama Administration had expected during that time period, according to the Associated Press.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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