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Hundreds Turn To Parkland For Health Insurance Help

By Jennifer Lindgren CBS 11 News | CBSDFW.COM

CBS DFW (con't)

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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Parkland Memorial Hospital, the public hospital in Dallas County, sees one million visits each year.

An estimated 50,000 patients who do not have health insurance, may now be eligible and be required to sign up through the health marketplace at www.healthcare.gov.

Since enrollment opened on October 1st, the online system has been plagued with delays and glitches, and Texans have had trouble signing up, too.

To help people apply and determine if they are eligible for coverage, Parkland’s certified application counselors are walking people through the process from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“The business office opens at seven in the morning, and at seven in the morning, there are people waiting outside the door before it opens up. Anywhere from 30 to 50 patients a day,” said Marian Morrow, who is the manager of patient financial services.

The counselors are using the healthcare phone hotline, the website, as well as pen and paper applications to get people through the system.

“We’ve seen people from Tarrant County, Collin County. We have a lot of patients who come from other counties and need assistance,” said Morrow.

On Wednesday at 1 p.m. about a dozen people were waiting at the hospital for help.

“I’m trying to see if I qualify. It offers the opportunity to have someone walk me through it,” said Penoral Stinnett.

Morrow says they’ve helped over 620 eligible people send off applications since October 1st.

It’s unclear how many in Dallas County, or Texas, have successfully applied for government health insurance; officials with the US Department of Health and Human services say those numbers will not be released until mid-november.

In addition to Parkland’s efforts, The Community Council of Greater  Dallas has held 27 workshops with certified navigators, and educated 1,000 people this month.

The Texas Organizing Project is also holding informational sessions, and has reached hundreds of people in the last three weeks.

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