Healthcare Guides Offer Free Services to Arkansans

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Many healthcare guides are waiting on their license to help people through the new healthcare system under the Affordable Care Act. There are three people in Northwest Arkansas who do have the license of about 100 who are trained.

Two of them work for the Economic Opportunity Agency (EOA) in Washington County. Mackenzie Coats is one of them.

The website to enroll is experiencing issues because of the volume of people signing up. However, Coats said they are still helping people understand the process.

"We've told them to get educated, so if they have any questions we can answer them as soon as we get in and get started," Coats said.

Aaron Randall, the in-person assisters (IPA) guide program manager for EOA, said he was able to create an account.

"My account was active probably in 5 minutes of the first log in page, so it's a pretty quick process," Randall said.

However, that's as far as he was able to go through the system. He said he logged on the and went through several quick steps until he got an error.

"You're going to a page that says please wait we are experiencing a lot of visitors on our site," Randall said.

Randall said too many people are logged on and are locking the system.

"It probably wasn't managed quite as effectively for the traffic that it had," Randall said. "I would just encourage everybody to be patient and maybe try a couple of days from now when the traffic isn't as heavy."

EOA healthcare guides said they are giving the website time and plan to start helping people through the process Thursday or Friday. Coats said they don't know how long the process takes but said it's only one application.

"You shouldn't have to keep going back and keep going back and re-entering information," Coats said. "It should be a one-stop shop."

EOA of Washington County healthcare guides plan to visit small businesses and organizations to help people through the process. The service healthcare guides provide is free.

Coverage begins in 2014, but enrollment deadline is December 15th if people want coverage on January 1st. Click here to search for healthcare guides by county. There are about 500 healthcare guides in Arkansas.