State health insurance call center up and going

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- Ten full time employees are fielding calls right now at the state call center about the Affordable Care Act.

But they can't refer anybody to insurance carriers or brokers until the online marketplace kicks off Oct. 1.

At the Consumer Resource Center on Fairview Avenue, the call takers are helping Idahoans navigate uncharted waters when it comes to the new health care law.

And the most common question is a basic one.

Just what is an online marketplace and what does the Affordable Care Act mean to me?

"So there is some confusion," said call taker Lorealie Walker. "So people just need a little Health Care 101."

Other questions relate to how much insurance premiums are ultimately going to cost.

This whole concept is new and untested.

"Yes, we're ready," said exchange operations manager Alberto Gonzalez. "We're ready to take calls, and help Idahoans."

Those without access to the Internet will be able to get in-person assistance as non-profits and community organizations work with the state to train helpers.