Working America signing up workers for health insurance

Oregonā€™s new online insurance exchange may be broken, but the AFL-CIO is moving ahead to sign up uninsured individuals for health insurance through its community group Working America.

Working America regional mobilization director Kim McMurray says the group has signed up 600 people so far in Oregon, including taxi drivers with Union Cab and employees of several restaurants. Working America has also held several enrollment fairs in the basement of the Oregon AFL-CIO offices ā€” in which individuals meet in person with insurance brokers chosen by the group.

The local effort is part of a national campaign by Working America, in partnership with the UnionPlus benefits program. Individuals who sign up for individual health insurance through Working America become members of Working America, and have access to a free 24-7 phone service to help schedule doctors appointments.

McMurray said the group hopes the effort will help build relationships with food service workers in particular. A Working America member coordinator has been reaching out to restaurant owners, and the group sends brokers out to sign employees up for coverage. Oven and Shaker restaurant will be the next to hold an enrollment event, Jan. 7.

The next open-to-the-public event will be Jan. 13 at the Radio Room, 1101 NE Alberta St., Portland. Sign-up for the event is online at www.working americahealthcare.com.

Because of delays in the rollout, the deadline for uninsured individuals to enroll for 2014 has been extended until March 31.

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