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More than 300 pack Hamilton hotel to learn about Affordable Care Act

By Kevin Maki, KECI Reporter, kmaki@keci.com
Published On: Oct 30 2013 06:58:30 PM MDT
Updated On: Oct 30 2013 10:34:36 PM MDT

Consumers came to find out about the new health care law and changes.

Many are uninsured, and need to know exactly what they have to do.

HAMILTON, Mont. -

More than 300 people jam packed a Hamilton hotel to hear about the Affordable Care Act. Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital sponsored it.

They had plenty to talk about, and lots of questions to answer.

There were so many people the hotel ran out of seats and had to bring in benches.

Many came because they were curious. Others, because they don't have insurance, and need to understand exactly how to go about getting it.

People with pre-existing illnesses can't be turned away.

Ranch manager Rick Armitage has health coverage himself, but he said his wife has a pre-existing illness and currently doesn't have insurance.

"I think she's worried a little bit, whether it is going to be affordable under our income," said Armitage.

Navigating the system has been a headache. Critics might call it a mind numbing maze of inefficiency. But the general counsel said glitches are getting worked out, so try to be patient.

"It sometimes takes about two hours and maybe two and a half," said Christina Goe, "occasionally you have to come back a second time."

Monica Lucas has her own business as a hairdresser. She works every day, and is uninsured. She has a pre-existing illness and knows she can't be turned down. But she has mixed feelings.

"There's a little bit of guilt," said Lucas, "other people are working their butts off and they have to pay more."

Critics have said the Affordable Care Act will be hard on small business people and self starters.

But Fritz Tossberg said he is happy that his children and grandchildren can be assured coverage.