Affordable Care Act changeover strands ‘health care orphans’

Beverly Maturro, of Massapequa, was among thousands of so-called health care orphans. (1/10/14)

MASSAPEQUA - Thousands of Americans known as health insurance "orphans" have signed up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act but may not be able to use it.

The government has a record that the so-called orphans enrolled, but insurers do not.

Those thousands include Beverly Maturro, of Massapequa. Maturro was diagnosed with cancer in September and upgraded to a higher tier insurance plan with Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield during the switch to the Affordable Care Act.

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She was given a temporary ID number to use for prescriptions and doctor visits, but Maturro was told her number didn’t work on a trip to the doctor.

The Health and Welfare Council of Long Island says there is help for the “orphans.” The council says anyone experiencing this issue should contact it and ask for a “navigator.”

“They do in fact have coverage, but the health plan hasn't entered the information into their system yet,” says Gwen O’Shea, of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island. “We can help expedite that so that the coverage can be accessed, people can get their medications and any resources they need in an emergency situation,”

Maturro and her husband spent more than 10 hours yesterday trying to get information from Empire about why her number didn’t work. She notified News 12 Long Island late today that her ID issue was fixed 10 minutes after she told the insurance carrier about this report.
 

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