CHICAGO — Working on a tight timeframe, Illinois is building an 800-person army of temporary workers to help people sign up for health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
The “in-person counselor” jobs, located in every corner of the state, range from a $9-an-hour part-time evening job in Clinton County to a $45,000-a-year project coordinator position in Chicago for someone with experience in community organizing and public speaking.
The workers will help consumers apply for coverage, and will answer questions and explain differences between the insurance policies offered on the new online marketplace. They will help consumers figure out if they’re eligible for Medicaid or for new tax credits that will help many people pay for coverage.
Job applications are being collected online and anyone hired will get three days of training about health insurance, enrollment rules and other complicated aspects of the health law. Illinois must act quickly to be ready for Oct. 1, the first day of enrollment for the law’s new insurance opportunities.
Training began at the end of July and, so far, about 120 people have gone through the program, said Mike Claffey, a spokesman for Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.
Each in-person counselor must complete state and federal training and a fingerprint-based background check to become certified by the Illinois Department of Insurance. The training involves one day of online work and two days of in-person education.
Trainers are faculty from the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Public Health who “have extensive experience in health care economics, insurance practices, outreach and training, health literacy and system navigation,” Claffey said.
How ironic is it that temporary employees are being hired in Obama’s home state to help naive people sign up for so-called “healthcare coverage” pushed for by President Obama himself and shoved down the throats of the American people by Congress that has, in effect, severely crippled our nation’s economy by way of hampering job creation beyond part time workers? You really can’t make this stuff up.
Phineas Butts In: These “in person” counselors are the same as the Obamacare navigators, which I wrote about a few weeks ago. On top of all the other problems already experienced with Obamacare’s rollout, there are serious questions about the navigators (Three days training? For this morass of a bill? Really??): state attorneys general in particular have pointed out the serious risk of identity theft and to people’s privacy in general. What was it Max Baucus called this? Oh, yeah…