UPDATED: Frankel informs public of Affordable Care Act options

By Gideon Bradshaw / News Editor

A state lawmaker’s office will hold a press conference on Friday to inform people who do not have health insurance, a group that includes many students, of the options that are available to them.

The office of Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Squirrel Hill, plans to hold a public meeting at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Squirrel Hill from 2 to 3 p.m. to inform members of the public about their options under the Affordable Care Act.

The Affordable Care Act mandates that citizens have health insurance approved under the act by Jan. 1 of next year. Under the law, citizens who do not have coverage will be subject to fines starting next year.

Starting on Oct. 1, Americans are able to register for the insurance program online. Pennsylvanians can register in order to determine their eligibility for certain plans through the federal government’s Health Insurance Marketplace.

According to Erika Fricke, a spokeswoman for Frankel, federally certified counselors will be on hand to help individuals who have trouble registering on the Health Insurance Marketplace.

The Consumer Health Coalition, a local nonprofit advocacy group, will send two certified application counselors to the session on Friday. Leslie Bachurski, director of consumer navigation and organizational development for the coalition, said that the organization received a federal grant to educate area residents on the Affordable Care Act.

The Allegheny Intermediate Unit, a branch of Pittsburgh’s public school system, will also send a representative to take part in the session at the library. Sarah McCluan, a spokeswoman for the intermediate unit, said that it has also received money to hire employees who can help members of the public make informed decisions.

Fricke said that Frankel’s office plans to hold another information session on the Affordable Care Act on Oct. 22 from 10 to 11 a.m. She said that Frankel’s office will continue to hold these sessions in November and December, but it is too early to make definite plans for those months.

“Rep. Frankel is incredibly passionate about this issue,” Fricke said. “So he wants to make sure that his office is responding to what the community needs.”

This article has been edited from an earlier version. The version initially published identified Rep. Dan Frankel as a Republican. This is incorrect. Frankel is a Democrat. The Pitt News regrets the error.