More than 100 attend Affordable Care Act education session in Newark

By Stephen Stirling/The Star-Ledger
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on October 05, 2013

Joseph Abraham, registered nurse first assistant, in one of the operating rooms at St. Peter's University Hospital in New Brunswick. Monday August, 12, 2013 (Patti Sapone/The Star-Ledger)


NEWARK — It exemplified the national state of confusion that took place across the country earlier this week as the main components of the Affordable Care Act took effect.

Richard Roper, chairman of the deacons at the Bethany Baptist Church, stepped to the microphone at the beginning of a question and answer session this afternoon on what's become known as Obamacare .

“I think I have more questions here than there are people in this room,” he said.

More than 100 people attended the event, designed to be an educational forum on the complexities of Obamacare and how to enroll. A dais of three healthcare experts answered dozens of questions from the audience about the new healthcare option, ranging from the highly specific to the most basic on how the program will work.

“The fact that some of the questions were very specific shows a level of awareness about it, but some of the questions also showed a dearth of knowledge,” Roper said. “There’s so much that seems unclear about what the act is providing.”

Roy Frank, a manager at Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey, told audience members it’s not only critical for residents to educate themselves before choosing a provider and a coverage plan, it’s important to use the services the plan provides.

He pointed to the fact that many have historically used the emergency room as their general practitioner, a practice he said needs to end.

“The whole point is if you don’t utilize the services that are available, you’re creating a problem,” Frank said. “When you enroll in a plan make sure you use that plan.”

One notable absence was a member of the federal department of Health and Human Services, who had to cancel due to the partial shutdown of the government.

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