As the Affordable Care Act painstakingly is placed into effect, Dallas volunteers are working to help those in need of insurance understand their options and “next steps”.

There is an interesting piece in the Morning News about Enroll America’s efforts to inform residents in East Dallas, Lake Highlands, Northeast Dallas areas about the health insurance marketplace, which opens Oct. 1 and enrolls through March.

Volunteers from Enroll America knocked on doors — first and unsuccessfully in the Skillman-Lovers area and, after figuring out their target audience lives in lower-income neighborhoods, in the Hamilton Park area, which flanks Lake Highlands.

They had a little more success with the Hamilton Park families, holding an informative session with an uninsured woman with an uninsured son who said she knew health insurance mandates were coming, but she didn’t know what the next step was.

And that’s essentially the point of the Enroll America volunteers, who spent a sizzling Monday afternoon knocking on area doors.

“We want people to know that this is a reality,” one volunteer told the Morning News. “This is coming. The reality is you could get some help.”

The health insurance marketplace purportedly is going to be beneficial not merely to financially struggling families, but also to those who have been previously excluded from coverage due to pre-existing conditions or for other reasons. Unarguably, it is an educational period for all of us.

Things that can put us on a road to a better system are out there, but, EA volunteers say, it’s not going to do anybody any good if people aren’t aware of what is happening.

Janna Gardner of Healing Hands Ministries chats with clients and volunteers

Janna Gardner of Healing Hands Ministries chats with clients and volunteers

Texas opted out of running its own health insurance marketplace and to let the federal government manage it. CBS DFW has a good summary of the Affordable Care Act and Texas if you wish to read further.

Anyone who already has adequate coverage may stick with it.

In Lake Highlands, working-but-financially-struggling and/or uninsured families also have an excellent healthcare option through the Healing Hands Ministries [story on Healing Hands here]. How will the healthcare act impact Healing Hands and charity clinics like it? Director Janna Gardner says, via a recent letter, the answer is simple:

“Healing Hands will still see our current patient population due to many of them not being covered by the plan.  The new clinic allows us to continue our partnership with Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas and Project Access Dallas to be an access point for healthcare.  Healing Hands is reviewing ways to see a diverse population of patients in order to meet the increased need of those that are covered by the plan while continuing to stay true to our mission, vision and core values.“