U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services spreads message about open enrollment

- U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell toured health centers in Houston Wednesday to spread the message open enrollment is around the corner.

Burwell says it’s helped over 17 million Americans who otherwise might not have health coverage.  Open enrollment begins November 1 and she says this year people should find it easier to sign up.

Burwell was joined by health experts and community leaders touring one of Harris Health System’s eligibility centers.  It’s a good place to go if you’re wondering if the Affordable Care Act will cover you.

“Even here in Texas we've seen a reduction in the uninsured by 3 percent which is a start and we want to build on that,” Burwell said.

Burwell says in order to do so there have been a lot of changes.  She says the system is faster and people no longer need that 14 digit number from their previous insurance.

“Another thing people have said, and it gets to this affordability, is they want to understand how this all works. So there is a total cost estimator that can help you understand what's your premium,” Burwell said.

25-year-old Carl Anderson who came to the podium next shared how this coverage saved his life.

“Honestly, I would say I don't think I would be around. I was really stressed out: how am I going to be able to afford my medication?” Anderson said.

But others remain skeptical.

“I've heard Obama insurance is really high. I've talked to ladies and she was telling me she was paying over $700 and she was a contract worker,” Mary Gonzalez said.

But Secretary Burwell and Anderson both say there is something out there for everyone.

For more information on open enrollment visit: https://www.healthcare.gov/

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