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Emergency rooms are front line for enrolling new Obamacare customers

Kaiser Health News / NPR, January 14, 2014
Some 5,000 uninsured people come into O'Connor Hospital's emergency department each year, and now it is Araceli Martinez's job to help them find coverage. In an office just down the hall from the ER, Martinez runs the Health Benefits Resource Center which has beefed up staffing and hours, with funding from Covered California, in response to the Affordable Care Act. Martinez says prior to 2014, uninsured patients had few options to pay off hefty hospital bills or enroll in health coverage. Now when they come in through the emergency room and are faced with a bill, "they're saying at that time, 'Well, maybe I can afford [some coverage].'"