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Bus Messages Encourage People to Shop on Health Care Exchange


If you’ve seen a Milwaukee County bus lately, you may have noticed a new digital message on the front. It alternates with the one telling you where the bus is headed.

The message reads: “Need Health Coverage? HEALTHCARE.GOV 800-318-2596.”

The messages were County Executive Chris Abele’s idea. He says they’re one way to remind people about the Affordable Care Act. Abele says the county has also posted banners and is handing out fliers.

“The plan we put together and worked with the White House on was all within existing resources. So parks already has marketing, the airport already has marketing, the bus system already has banners that they do. You’re not paying extra tax dollars, we’re just getting relevant information -- but it’s important information,” Abelesyas.

Wisconsin residents can visit to search for health coverage, under President Obama’s plan.

It has not been going smoothly. Problems have plagued the exchange website, and even shut it down in its first weeks.

County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic says that news may intimidate some people -- but don’t ignore the bus messages. She says she’s helped family members sign up for insurance online and on the phone.

“If you call in, in off-peak hours, it’s 24 hour assistance. and there’s bilingual in many other languages. They're very, very helpful, and it's been easier than I thought actually. It’s about a 45 minute process,” Dimitrijevic says.

Dimitrijevic says this is a historical transition for the country, and she’s glad the county is spreading the word.