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Helping to Explain Affordable Care Act

MANITOWOC — Lakeshore residents will have an easier time understanding the new Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, because of the efforts of a coalition spearheaded by Holy Family Memorial.

In July, Holy Family Memorial began contacting other area groups that were working to get the word out about the Affordable Care Act.

In just a few weeks, a coalition was formed — just in time for Affordable Care Act enrollment, which starts Oct. 1.

“We just thought, why have all these different people doing the same type of thing when we could join together and pool our resources,” Mary Maurer, HFM vice president of business development/chief innovation officer, said of the groups, who together are called the Community Action Enrollment Coalition. “We’re trying to reach out to help as many people with this as we can.”

In addition to Holy Family Memorial, whose main office is at 2300 Western Ave., Manitowoc, other coalition members include Lakeshore Community Action Program Inc.; Wisconsin Job Center, Manitowoc County; Northeastern Wisconsin Area Health Education Center; Manitowoc Public Library; Lester Public Library, Two Rivers; Aurora Health Care, Two Rivers; and Aging and Disability Resource Centers of the Lakeshore, which serves people throughout Manitowoc and Kewaunee counties.

“Everything has been working really well with all of the people involved in this. We’re happy to be getting the information out to people and answering any questions they may have about the changes that are taking place,” said Laura Fielding, HFM administrative director/organizational development.

Maurer and Fielding are joined by administrative fellow Shawn Daughenbaugh on the HFM team that’s part of the coalition.

The coalition recently finished producing a toolkit that all of its member groups will be using and sharing with interested people. The toolkit includes a variety of information, including a “top 10” things people should know.

Daughenbaugh said there weren’t any challenges in regards to working with various coalition members. The hardest part, he said, was “trying to get information from the government. That was harder at times than I thought it would be.”

Maurer said that Holy Family Memorial has had a strong working relationship with many members of the coalition. “It has been great to have everyone on board,” she said.

Maurer said coalition members are spreading the word about the toolkits by putting notices in newspapers, going on radio shows, hanging posters and posting details online.

As for Holy Family Memorial’s role, Maurer said, “We felt it was the right thing to do and take the lead in getting a coalition together to inform people about the things they need to know since this is a huge social change.

“This is something where people are going to have a lot of questions, and if we can provide them with the information they need and answer those questions as best we can, then I think we’re all doing a good thing. We’re just trying to reach anyone who might possibly be affected by this change.”

For additional information, contact one of the aforementioned coalition members or logon to www.healthcare.gov.

See our Enroll America / Affordable Care Act section online