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Health insurance is a blessing for East Austin mother

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Many people in our area don't have health insurance but one East Austin resident says now is the time to sign up.
Being covered has helped keep her son alive and she hopes her message can help save others as well.    
"Before you know it your kids are sick, your family members are sick, your friends are sick and that's when you wish you had it," says Frances Acuna, resident.
That hits home for Frances Acuna, who had realized something wasn't right with her 12-year-old son.
"Before I knew it, I took him get tested and he has ADHD and other disabilities," says Acuna.
Once she started working, she was able to get insurance through her job, which Acuna says was a blessing.
Her son was having more problems and she didn't know why.
"He was having too much pain so they ordered an MRI, CT scan and all of that. He has a tumor in his lower back," says Acuna.
Further testing will show if her son has cancer.
If he does then he will need to undergo surgery; a procedure that is so dangerous he could lose his life or remain paralyzed.
That's why Acuna came to an info session at the Dove Springs Rec Center, so she can stay on top of their health insurance.
Get Covered America is trying to make the process easier for residents.
"Talking to people out in public, knocking on their door, giving them phone calls. We need as many volunteers as we can to help us do that work. We're basically going to be educating the people of Austin about the marketplace, their opportunity to get affordable health insurance and that the deadline is March 31," says Ken Flippin, Get Covered America, regional organizing lead.
They targeted the Dove Springs neighborhood where many residents are either uninsured or have only baseline health coverage provided through the local Medical Access Program.
This came as a concern when the floods hit that area last Fall.
Many people don't know that new health insurance options and financial help is available.
"If you've never had insurance before, this is definitely the time to get educated and get enrolled. They of course can get in contact with us or any of the enrollment specialists here in town. They can call 211 locally," says Flippin.
 Acuna tells people not to wait.
"If I didn't have the insurance, you know all these tests and all this my son has gone through...I wouldn't have been able to pay for it. my son would have still been sick."

So far, more than 200,000 Texans have enrolled in the health insurance marketplace but there are still many needing to sign up before the March 31st deadline.
To make that possible, Get Covered America is in need of volunteers.
They are having a convention next Saturday afternoon from 11:00 to 2:00 at United Way.
They are hoping they can train more people who can then go out into the community and educate others.

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