Questions about the Affordable Care Act?

Operators are standing by for calls about health reform

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Not entirely sure when state health insurance exchanges will take effect? Curious about Grandma’s new free preventive services? Wondering whether the ACA will help our hurt your small business? Operators are standing by for your call.

Not entirely sure when state health insurance exchanges will take effect? Curious about Grandma’s new free preventive services? Wondering whether health reform helps or hurts your small business?

Call someone who cares.

And I mean that sincerely. You can actually call in toll-free to have your questions about health reform answered as part of the Affordable Care Act 101 Conference Call Series. It’s a smart way for the Department of Health and Human Services to get the word out about continued implementation of the ACA – and it’s open to anyone.

I just phoned in for my first call and got a quick update on the major points of the law: a brief explanation of the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP), a rundown of the provisions that end insurance abuses, and a good bit of information about how the Affordable Care Act actually will make health care more affordable.

It wasn’t a long call. The host moved pretty quickly through the material, but then opened up the lines to conference callers to ask follow-up questions.

The callers seemed hungry for information about how the ACA would improve their lives. Some asked general questions, but other were obviously looking for help now. (One woman wanted to know how the ACA would help with Medicare out-of-pocket costs for the low-income seniors in her community.)

And the host either had a general answer, or pointed the caller to a specific Web page, or offered to provide an answer specific to the question by e-mail. But the important thing was that the host seemed eager to point callers to resources they need.

It was a good start to what looks like a helpful series. Future calls will focus in depth on issues that definitely need their own call: the PCIP, the state health insurance exchanges, ACA benefits for recent immigrants.

If you have serious questions, it’s worth your time to phone in. You need to RSVP, but the great news is that you make your own invitation.

So stop wondering how the ACA will affect you and just pick up the phone. Operators are standing by.