Local agency helps people sign up on health insurance marketplace

POSTED: 09:03 PM MST Dec 20, 2013    UPDATED: 07:11 PM MST Jan 16, 2014 
Obamacare, Affordable Care Act, health care website
EL PASO, Texas -

You could say Veronica Cruz-Montero is a pro working with the healthcare.gov website.

"I love my job so much. The reason being is because people really do appreciate the fact that we are out there in the community, trying to assist, trying to help out and do what's best for them," Cruz-Montero said.

She hasn't been a navigator for long but her daily workload is a steady pace that takes a lot of understanding and patience.

"Six to seven clients. When we do the actual application, it could take us an hour to an hour and a half per client," Cruz-Montero added.

Working with Project Amistad, Veronica and her coworkers have traveled to Presidio, Marfa and Alpine, Texas.

Her help to clients is free through a department called CHIMES, which stands for Consumer Health Insurance Marketplace Enrollment Services.

"We find there's a substantial need for the services we're providing."

Community Services Director Roy Ortega reminds people they can sign up for insurance under Obamacare on their own.

However, with so many recent changes in the Affordable Care Act, including the most recent about individuals whose plans have been canceled being eligible for a "hardship exemption," and the March 31 open enrollment deadline, it wouldn't hurt to sit with someone who can answer questions.

"They have support from us and we're trying to help as best as we can," Cruz-Montero said.