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El Paso nonprofit: Use caution when using agencies to enroll under Affordable Care Act

By: Gina Benitez
EL PASO, Texas

An area nonprofit group warns El Pasoans to make sure they know who they're dealing with when enrolling for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

"Project Amistad and the United Way are the only two agencies in El Paso County that have been secured by the Health and Human services to provide community outreach and enrollment services under the Affordable Care Act," said Roy Ortega, community relations manager with Project Amistad.

Almost immediately after the Affordable Care Act took effect, scammers took advantage.

Across the country and right here in El Paso.

"We have noted, however, that there are a number of local businesses that are offering enrollment services to some of their clients and charging a fee for providing that service," Ortega said.

Ortega said with Project Amistad and the United Way, these services are free so there's no reason to pay.

"When people come to us to request assistance, they can be assured that our navigators, people on our staff, who are charged with performing the service, are fully trained by the federal government and adhere very strictly to the federal protection laws," Ortega said.

Romero Consulting displays a sign outside that reads "Obamacare Enrollment Center."

"What we do is we help our clients, we help them get on board, get them signed up and get insurance as they move forward," said John Romero, an insurance agent.

He said, like every other insurance agent, he's just trying to sell a policy.

"The state of Texas has allowed for El Paso County, there's County There's two insurance companies out there, they're there. They're actually gonna be the insurers of those coming on to the Affordable Care Act," Romero said.

Romero said he offers the Monday night workshops free.

"Whether they enroll with us, it doesn't matter. There's a lot of, I guess, information out there that people don't understand. What is this whole plan all about? Does it involve me? What do I have to do? Does it involve me? Am I responsible for getting enrolled?" Romero said.

Ortega encourages those who think about enrolling to take a close look at those not working under the federal registry.

"We would certainly issue a bit of caution to residents to make absolutely sure that they know who they're dealing with," Ortega said.



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