With less than a month to go before Texans can start signing up online for health insurance through the Federally run marketplace, community leaders are strategizing about how to get the word out.
Of the 400,000 uninsured in Bexar County, an estimated 100,000 would be eligible to buy subsidized coverage through the marketplace.
"Right now, they don't know. They don't know about it, and what little they do know, is very confused and even wrong," said Tony Deosdade, with Communities Organized for Public Service (COPS) and Metro Alliance.
Nearly 70 community leaders gathered Friday at University Health System's Robert B. Green Campus downtown to discuss how to reach the uninsured.
Texas is among the states refusing to help implement the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
"We either do it ourselves or it doesn't get done," said George Hernandez Jr., CEO of University Health System.
University Health System agreed to coordinate the efforts of a vast number of community groups.
The plan is to take the information into the neighborhoods, including churches and other places were people congregate.
Town hall meetings and placing printed literature in key locations are on the drawing board.
"There's going to be a lot of places you go to get help," said Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff. "We're going to use libraries as another source to get information."
Federal grants are going to CentroMed, Communicare and AACOG to help train people and get people enrolled.
Other groups are left to fund the efforts themselves.
"We need to get the information out of what's going to be available October first," Hernandez said. "I think there's some confusion about what people are going to be eligible for October first."
On Oct. 1, Texans will be able to visit the the government-run marketplace through www.healthcare.gov and shop for a plan. Tax credits will be available on a qualifying basis to help pay for the premiums, therefore making the insurance "affordable."
The government-run marketplace is open to anyone. However, those with affordable insurance through their employer would likely not receive tax credits.
Exactly what consumers will be able to buy through the marketplace is still unclear. Private insurers will compete and offer various plans with different levels of coverage at different prices.
"We hope that those insurance plans that are being reviewed currently for approval, that they meet minimum standards, that they will be out in the next couple of weeks, before October first," said Congressman Lloyd Doggett, democrat representing District 35.
Coverage would begin Jan. 1. The marketplace will be open for enrollment from Oct. 1 through March.