Open Enrollment Deadline Nears for DC Residents – NBC4 Washington

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On the last weekend of open enrollment for DC residents, the folks at DC Health Link tried to get as many people as possible enrolled in an affordable health care plan.

“You have to engage with the people you’re trying to reach. If you don’t get involved, you’re not going to get anywhere,” said Antonio Guernica, the director of business development for the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority.

On Sunday, Guernica was in Adams Morgan at Our Lady Queen of the Americas Catholic Church, one of the weekend locations for that engagement.

“We sent out emails. We call people on the phone. We follow up. We’re going to visit them – whatever it takes,” he said with a laugh. “What does it do for you? Okay, one, it keeps your family healthy… Number two, it protects you from financial ruin. High medical bills are one of the main reasons people go bankrupt.”

Masses at the church are celebrated in English and Spanish, so it is an ideal place to reach out to the immigrant community.

The outreach effort continued at the landmark Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street NW. While tour groups from all over came for the food, the atmosphere and the history, the Thompsons came for cover.

“The process was very smooth. We learned a lot [about] how DC health care is happening and what needs to be done,” said Rich Thompson.

“I think [the effort is] incredibly important because a lot of people just won’t take the time or don’t even know where to go,” said Angela Thompson.

And so, at restaurants and at church, DC Health Link used the weekend to offer food for thought.

“We realize that health insurance is not a sexy topic, but it is very, very important,” Guernica said.

Registration ends on January 31st, so there is still time to enter.

“The best place to go is DChealthlink.com. There you will have all the information about what we do,” said Guernica.